Education & Training

The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law

Forensic Anthropology: From Crime Scene to Crime Fiction and Forensic Dentistry

February 5, 2007
Stetson University College of Law, The Great Hall, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL

Dr. Kathy Reichs, the producer of the hit TV series, Bones, and award winning novelist of the nine books in the Temperance Brennan series, is also a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

Her work as a forensic anthropologist is internationally recognized. She has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, helped identify individuals from mass graves in Guatemala, and done forensic work at Ground Zero in New York. For her work with CILHI she has identified war dead from World War II, from all of Southeast Asia – she even examined the remains from the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Experiences she has had while working in forensic anthropology spawned her best selling novels. Each new story plays on an aspect of forensic anthropology and matter classification that Dr. Reichs has personally used in her work, allowing her main character, Temperance Brennan’s work to be authentic. Novels in the Temperance Brennan series are: Déjà Dead, Death du Jour, Deadly Decisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, and Break No Bones.

The story lines on the dramatic TV series Bones, which appears on the Fox network, are inspired by realities of Dr. Reichs’ work and are loosely based on the experiences of the Dr. Temperance Brennan character from her books.

Dr. Robert B. J. Dorion is Director of Forensic Dentistry at the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale, Ministry of Public Security for the province of Quebec since 1973. He graduated with a B.Sc. from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S. in 1968 and a D.D.S. from Mc Gill University, Montreal, QC. in 1972. He is a founding member and past president of the American Board of Forensic Odontology and recipient of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’ prestigious "Distinguished Fellows" award in 2002 and the Odontology section "Lester Luntz" award in 2005.

He has lectured extensively at forensic conferences and universities throughout the world in places like Canada, France, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United States. He has addressed law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Academy in Quantico and the Canadian Police College in Ottawa, Canada.

In 2000 he received an "Exceptional Service in the Public Interest" award from the FBI Director. A past president of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, he has served on various committees of forensic organizations in the United States and Canada, as well as serving as consultant to the Law Reform Commission of Canada and to the FBI Dental Task Force, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

An innovator, he launched the first Forensic Dentistry Internet course with the Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, in the fall of 2004. He has authored articles/chapters for various journals/textbooks/books/manuals on the subject of forensic dentistry. His accomplishments include chapters for the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Forensic Odontology manuals. He has edited the first stand-alone comprehensive textbook entitled Bitemark Evidence released in 2005 and published by Marcel Dekker, New York, NY.