If anybody with some forensic knowledge could help me with this problem, I will be very grateful!


I am working on a screenplay. At one point, a male character wants to fake his own death, and leave the remains of someone to "stand in" for him, so that he will not be pursued further. The problem is, the person he is going to sacrifice is a female. I am having a very hard time finding information regarding the circumstances in which a female body could be mistaken for a male body. Of course the teeth would have to be removed and the flesh (fingerprints, etc.) would have to be destroyed, so an explosion/burning could work, but that leaves the issue of the skeleton. A female skeleton and a male skeleton are not the same.


Is anybody learned in the real-world procedure of identifying remains? Is there a circumstance in which female remains could be identified as male?


Even if anyone could suggest resources for me to look into, that would be incredibly helpful.





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No particular forensic knowledge except that gathered from mysteries. My guess from similar scenarios is that this is impossible.  Forensics have come a long way.  I would settle for a false (careless, criminal) identification by the person preparing the report.  Or paperwork could have been switched, intentionally or unintentionally.  On the whole, it seems easier to pick a male victim, or to lose the body altogether.
I fear you're probably right.

IJ is right, for all of her reasons and one more. If they find even a trace of DNA, it's all over.


Her conspiracy idea (someone on the inside of law enforcement) may be the only way to do this.

If you want the expert's opinion, send an email to DP (Doug) Lyle, M.D. at http://www.dplylemd.com/consulting.html.  He will answer writers' straight forward forensics questions for free.




thank you so much, that is exactly what I was looking for!

In a historical, this might work. Back in 1925, Charles Schwartz nearly faked his own death in an explosion, substituting another man's body (itinerant preacher Gilbert Barbe) for his own. If Schwartz hadn't insured his life for $185,000 not long before, investigators would have been satisifed with his wife's identification of the charred remains via the jewelry worn.


I don't know that you could fake a man's death using female remains. Too many things need to be changed. Hips, leg angle, ribs, shoulder width, etc, not to mention the fact that they would get a sample of bone or tissue and know gender pretty quickly.


Best way would be to use the body so that the investigators never actually look at it. That would be tricky to do, but I'd imagine crushing or beating and then having the remains ID'd with no need for any forensics.

I think I'm just going to have to get rid of it. I was really excited for the final act twist, but...


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