By William R. Maples
From a skeleton, a cranium, a trifling fragment of burnt thighbone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a homicide sufferer, the way within which the individual used to be dispatched, and, finally, the identification of the killer. In lifeless males Do inform stories, Dr. Maples revisits his strangest, best, and so much terrible investigations, from the baffling circumstances of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Vietnam MIAs to the mysterious deaths of President Zachary Taylor and the family members of Czar Nicholas II.
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Extra info for Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Anthropologist
I was getting nowhere, it seemed. So as soon as Margaret won her degree in education I left school, went to Dallas and got a job with the Hartford Insurance Company as an investigator. An old pathologist once told me: “When in doubt, think dirty. ” It was good advice, and I had many occasions to put it to good use while investigating insurance claims. Although I came to detest this job and the human vermin it brought me into contact with, in retrospect it was the best possible training for my later career as a forensic anthropologist.
A higher court ruled that the jury ought to have been told all this before it recommended the death penalty in Stone’s case. Despite the resentencing, it is thought unlikely Stone will ever be paroled. He has survived three heart attacks and has undergone bypass surgery in prison. I have also since learned from prison officials that Stone is something of a pariah in prison. Even when he was on Death Row, the other condemned men regarded him as a human rattlesnake. The skullcap in the Stone case was a victory, not so much for me as for the science of forensic anthropology in Florida.
Faugh …! —Ambrose Bierce, What I Saw of Shiloh. I seldom have nightmares. When I do, they are usually flitting images of the everyday things I see on the job: crushed and perforated skulls, lopped-off limbs and severed heads, roasted and dissolving corpses, hanks of human hair and heaps of white bones—all in a day’s work at my office, the C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. Recently I dreamed I was in a faraway country, trying on shoes, and the leather in the shoes was so improperly prepared that the laces and uppers were crawling with maggots.