# Rigor Mortis, Livor Mortis, Algor Mortis

Paper #1

Rigor Mortis, Livor Mortis, Algor Mortis

Algor mortis is “Aprocess that occurs after death in which the body temperature continually cools until it reaches the ambient or room temperature.” (Saferstein, 2015. Pg. 113.) This is the most crucial of the three mortis’ listed above. In order for an accurate determination of time of death this must be conducted as soon as possible. There are a few steps as to how this is calculated.

First, you would need to determine what the surrounding temperature of the body was. Next, it is important to get the temperature from the ear channel of the victim at the scene. “Ataverage ambient temperatures of 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit, the body loses heat at a rate of approximately of 1-1.5 degrees F per hour until the body reaches the ambient or room temperature.” (Saferstein, 2015. Pg. 113) Now, since the heart rate is greatly influenced by the ambient temperature, along with other factors, this can only give an approximate amount of time since death.

## Rigor Mortis, Livor Mortis, Algor Mortis

Liver Mortis is defined as, “Amedical condition that occurs after death and results in the settling of blood in areas of the body closest to the ground.” (Saferstein, 2015, Pg.113) When the human heart stops pumping blood, the blood then pools to the areas that are closest to the ground. “The onset of this condition begins 20 minutes to 3 hours after death and under average conditions continues for up to 16 hours after death, at which point all lividity, or coloring, is fixed. Initially, lividity can be pressed out of the vessels.

” (Saferstein, 2015. pg. 113) When some of the skin is pressed it is called blanched. A range in the time of death can be determined by the lividity as long as there is still some whitening. The body temperature and that of the environmental temperature is a contributor in the way this directly affects the initial time of death.

Rigor mortis is the last of these. Rigor mortis is “The onset of this condition begins 20 minutes to 3 hours after death and under average conditions continues for up to 16 hours after death, at which point all lividity, or coloring, is fixed. Initially, lividity can be pressed out of the vessels.” (Saferstein, 2015. pg. 113) This is probably the most common of the three. These are some things that can alter the determination of time of death. “An environment that is hot can speed up the process significantly. Conditions that affected the body before death, such as exercise or physical activity, can also speed up the process. (Saferstein, 2015. pg. 113.)

Saferstein, R. (2015). Criminalistics: An introduction to forensic science (11th ed.). Pearson.