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Lewes, Delaware
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January 3, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 3, 1997
 

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CAPE GAZETI, Friday, January 3 - January 9, 1997 - 23 HEALTH & F00T00ss , Entomology forms important link in police work By Claire McCabe Presented with this evidence, the neigh- Forensic entomology, a branch of zoolo- gy that deals with insects and is ofiea used in court cases, is used most often to help solve homicides. Even!f dead men don't tell tales, the evidence around them certain- ly does. "Decomposition is a biological process, as is the life cycle of insects," said Delaware State Police Trooper Jack Webb. "Not much can alter that. Life cycles don't lie, and there's a consistent time period for progression of decay in bodies. Knowledge of insect life cycles helps in dating the time since death so it can reveal false alibis." Dating the time since death of a corpse can help identify a victim. Knowing the general time of death can lead police tO search missing person records for specific dates, and often they discover that the body has been dumped from another state. Webb said forensic entomology also can be used in cases of child neglect and rape. For example, in cases of child neglect, maggots growing in the feces of an un- changed diaper have been used to date just how long a Child has been unattended. Rape cases can be strengthened by docu- menting the transfer of body lice. "Collection of evidence is so important, every detail counts," Webb said. For example, a difficult rape case was solved by using insect larva on a ski mask to extract a confession. The crime, com- mitted during the summer months, was per- petrated by a ski-masked intruder. The victim thought she recognized the perpetrator's voice as that of a neighbor. Acting on this clue, the police searched the neighbor's home and found a ski mask that matched the description given by the victim. The owner of the ski mask said it had been stored away since winter. But the po- lice discovered larva of an outdoor summer insect on the mask. If the ski mask had been packed away since the previous winter, as the accused claimed, the larvae of an outdoor insect, ac- tive in the summer, would not have'been on the mask. bor confessed to the crime. A rotting pig carcass and flies aren't what every entomology major bases a project on, but while at UD, Webb did. And given his name, the same as that of the main charac- ter on television's "Dragnet," it's no mys- tery that he has chosen a career uncoyering clues to solve crimes. The pig decomposition study, an essen- tial part of this alum's project on forensic entomology at the University of Delaware (UD), earned Webb a spot in the highly competitive Delaware State Police Training Academy. Webb, whose project advisor at UD was Chuck Mason, Ph.D., added to the body of knowledge in forensic entomology by cata- loging the types and progression of insects that mark decomposition in the Mid-At- lantic area. Pig carcasses were left to decompose on the research farm at the university. Webb would periodically visit, capture the insects and catalog them as to species, cycle of life and time of collection since the pig's death. This profiling of Delaware insects had never been done before. His study yielded five boxes of insects from flies the size of pinpoints to large beetles. The collection has been invaluable in helping to solve homicides in Delaware and surrounding states. Having just completed his two-year pro- bationary period, Webb is now a trooper on his way to becoming a detective - solving crimes with his knowledge of insects and their life cycles. The world of the state trooper is a differ- ent world, Webb said. Constant training in specialty areas such as drug enforcement and domestic violence keeps the officers up to date and prepared to deal with crime. The peak moments - Webb said he'll nev- er forget responding to a Call, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and saving a life - are the rewards. In addition to rigorous training, Webb said troopers must be able to deal effective- ly with crimes in all types of situations and be constantly alert for trouble. • Christina Muzzi photo Delaware State Police Trooper Jack Webb displays a case of insects that he has found useful in criminal investigations. "It takes intelligence and common sense," said Webb. "For example, a simple traffic violation can lead to an encounter with a criminal. "I've learned a lot from the older troop- ers. They've been there and done that. And I there's no substitute for experience. "Being a trooper is a calling you don't do it unless you want to," said Webb. "I knew I always wanted to do something positive with my life. Troopers are here to help and to protect." ties is the "Traveler's Fitness/Health Directory," Na- tional Employee's Services and Recreation Association, 2400 S. Downing Avenue, Westchester, IL 60153, (312) 562-8130. • Write down a specific routine for each day for your absence, in- eluding your day of departure and return. 2. Devise a daily exercise routine - • Warm-up and flexibility exer- cises (5-15 minutes). • Strength and muscular en- durance (legs, arms, trunk, 5 to 10 minutes each area). • Aerobic activity (15-60 min- utes, depending on your level of fitness and exercises). • Cool-down and flexibility ex- ercises (5-15 minutes). 3. Control your nutrition- al habits - • Eat a well-balanced breakfast. • Have a mid-morning nutrition- al snack. • Eat a light, well balanced lunch. • Avoid eating late at night. • Order appetizer, soup, salad and a small or no entree. • Order foods steamed, broiled or poached. • Be conscious of ordering dessert and foods high in MSG or sodium. 4. Take time for rest and relaxation - • Avoid exercising before going to bed. • Avoid eating before going to bed. • Seven to eight hours of sleep is recommended each night. • Plan some quiet time during the day. Business trips are usually very stressful. Employees are away from familiar surroundings, away from loved ones, regular sched- ules and customary lifestyles. It is important for the traveler to maintain their programs daily. Proper organization'before each trip can make for an enjoyable and maintainable exercise and nutri- tional schedule. HEALTH TOPICS ROGER "DOC" HUN Roger "Doc" Hunt is an ath- letic train t, strength coach and fitness instructor at Sus- sex Technical High School. He has 21 years of sports medicine experience and has lectured throughout the Unites States, China, Finland and the Bahamas. 1. Plan ahead- . Attempt to stay in hotels with a swimming pool, weight room, areas to jog or walk or other facil- ities. One resource that can rec- ommend hotels with fitness activi- People who are constantly trav- eling because of business have a real problem motivating them- selves while on trips. To some of these travelers, maintaining a regular exercise routine and maintaining healthy habits is very difficult: Most busi- ness persons become inactive par- ticipants. To develop an effective exer- cise program while on the road means proper organization. There are four areas that need to be con- sidered: Don't let travel spoil your fitness routine: work in a workout