Received 16 May 2010; accepted 20 October 2010.
"Artefactually enhanced putrefactive and autolytic changes may be misinterpreted as indicating a prolonged postmortem interval and throw doubt on the veracity of witness statements. Review of files from Forensic Science SA and the literature revealed a number of external and internal factors that may be responsible for accelerating these processes."
"Exogenous factors included exposure to elevated environmental temperatures, both outdoors and indoors, exacerbated by increased humidity or fires. Situations indoor involved exposure to central heating, hot water, saunas and electric blankets. Deaths within motor vehicles were also characterized by enhanced decomposition. Failure to quickly or adequately refrigerate bodies may also lead to early decomposition."
" Endogenous factors included fever, infections, illicit and prescription drugs, obesity and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. When these factors or conditions are identified at autopsy less significance should, therefore, be attached to changes of decomposition as markers of time since death."