Scattered Episode 12: Next of Kin & the Forensic Anthropologist – Interview with Dr. Nicholas Marquez-Grant

Dr. Nicholas Marquez-Grant is a Forensic Anthropologist with Cranfield University. While he has worked with forensic cases in the UK, he also works internationally on historical, humanitarian, and forensic cases.

This episode involves discussion of difficult topics such as mass graves, war, conflict, disasters, and damaged or incomplete human remains. Please be advised that while we do try our best to treat these topics with sensitivity and awareness, they are topics that some people may not be able to listen to.

In this episode we talk about:

  • when a forensic anthropologist may have to engage with next of kin and what that may involve
  • managing the expectations of next of kin in terms of identifying individuals, how long it takes, and how it can be done
  • how the religious and/or political beliefs of the living next of kin may impact a forensic anthropologist’s ability to identify an individual and provide a dignified burial
  • DNA is but one clue among many that can be gathered and used to help identify an individual
  • the need to be for everyone involved in investigations to be open to the possibility that we don’t know everything and act accordingly
  • the identification of an individual isn’t confined to or doesn’t start in the laboratory; it starts at the scene
  • recovery of remains isn’t just for the investigation, it can also be for the family

You can find Nick’s Cranfield University profile here:

https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/people/dr-nicholas-marquezgrant-498915

He was a collaborator on a recent article for The Conversation regarding the war in Ukraine: https://theconversation.com/ukraine-how-forensics-teams-will-investigate-evidence-of-atrocities-at-bucha-180765

Do you have a search story to share? I’d love to hear it.

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