List of all consultants
Dr. Kristen Hartnett-McCann is a board certified forensic anthropologist who has been working with the SCME since 2014. Dr. Hartnett-McCann has assisted with numerous scene recoveries of both buried and surface skeletons, working alongside SCME Investigators and Suffolk County law enforcement. She provides the office with determinations of human vs. nonhuman remains, and differentiates forensically significant skeletal remains from prehistoric, historic, ritual, and teaching skeletons. In addition, she assists the Medical Examiners in making identifications of unknown individuals by evaluating the skeleton and establishing a biological profile (age, sex, ancestry, and stature). Frequently, she examines skeletal trauma and pathology to aid in the determination of the cause of death.
The SCME utilizes the forensic radiology consultation services of Dr. Mark DeSantis, who is a full-time radiologist at the Northport VA Medical Center. Dr. DeSantis’s expertise is sought primarily when a decedent’s body is not identifiable by conventional means of visual recognition and when other scientific means of identification, such as fingerprints and dental records, are not readily available. The forensic radiologist is able to derive clues from relatively subtle features on plain radiographs, such as remote fracture calluses, tendinous calcifications, and other degenerative changes, as well as anatomic alterations occurring following surgical procedures. In circumstances where positive identification cannot be established scientifically through fingerprints or dental records, forensic radiology is potentially useful for providing scientific identification.
Forensic Odontology (dentistry)
The Suffolk County OME utilizes the forensic odontology consultation services of 5 forensic dentists:
- Lillian Nawrocki, DDS, DABFO (Chief Forensic Odontology Consultant)
- Cynthia Brzozowski, DMD, DABFO
- Rich Serchuk, DDS
- Phyllis Ho, DDS
- David Lynn, DDS.
These individuals assist the Office in a variety of activities, which include positive identification of decedents; in analysis of suspected bite marks; and in participation with mass disaster drills. Their expertise is invaluable in the identification of many deceased individuals who, by virtue of injuries they have sustained or postmortem changes, are not identifiable by standard means of visual recognition. While forensic biology (DNA analysis) is the first means of identification that comes to mind by most people, the reality is that DNA identification requires several days to weeks of processing to achieve a positive “match”. In contrast, identification by forensic odontology which involves comparison of antemortem dental records and radiographs (i.e., when the decedent was alive) with postmortem features, usually can be accomplished within a few days – which clearly benefits the decedents’ families in making their funeral arrangements. As the forensic dentists operate on a rotating schedule, one of them is always available for consultation, often on the same day that the decedent is brought into the OME. Their expertise is a major asset to the timely release of decedents to their families.