Clothing and other Personal Property

The style, size and manufacturer of clothing and jewelry are commonly used to make a presumptive identification or to presumptively exclude identity. Relatives, friends or witnesses may remember what the missing person was wearing when last seen. Unfortunately, clothing may decompose along with the rest of the body or be destroyed if a body is burned. Of course, a person may not be wearing his or her "regular" clothes when death occurred or may not be wearing the same clothing when "last" seen. Identification should not be based solely on clothing since someone else may have donned the missing person's clothing or the missing person may be wearing the clothing of some other person.

Similarly, personal property such as a driver's license or social security card may offer important leads as to the identity of the decedent. However, since these documents can be borrowed, found or stolen, their presence should not be sole determinants of identity.

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