Forensic Anthropology Laboratory

The Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is responsible for the forensic anthropological examination and analysis of human skeletal remains found in New Jersey. The purpose of this analysis is to assist in establishing the positive identification of the remains. This analysis involves, but is not limited to, the determination and estimation of age, sex, race, stature and other information, which may contribute to cause of death and identification. For evidence submittal to the Anthropology Laboratory, see the Evidence Field Manual link on the OFS home page.

Additional assistance includes completion of the National Crime Information Center (N.C.I.C.) reports and entry of unidentified persons into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). These are national databases which assist law enforcement and medical examiners/coroners in the comparison of missing and unidentified persons. As part of the data entry into national databases, the laboratory coordinates a team of trained forensic odontologists (DRILL team) to digitize, scan, and code dental information of missing individuals and of unidentified remains. For further information on missing and unidentified persons log onto NAMUS.GOV.

The Laboratory also offers the following services:

  • Assistance in the search for and the controlled excavation and recovery of buried, hidden or scattered remains or other evidence.
  • Three-dimensional clay facial reconstructions of unidentified deceased individuals.
  • Assistance in the preparation of composite drawings of the face based upon analysis of the skull.
  • Forensic computer imaging for identification and investigative purposes.
    Forensic anthropological assistance to the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Unit.
  • Long-term curation (storage) and retrieval of unidentified human skeletal remains.

New Jersey State Police Forensic Anthropologist Donna Fontana


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