Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

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Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

senorjoe
DR CARDENAS' SECRET SOAK
Only Dr Alejandro Hernández Cárdenas knows the ingredients of this secret soak which is used to refresh corpses.
After a few days to a week, shrivelled and partially-mummified remains are 'pumped up' and look like fresher corpses.
Features such as scars, tattoos and moles are revealed that can identify individuals and can potentially be used to solve crimes.
Bathing a hand can also revive it enough so that fingerprints can be taken.
While other methods are also used to obtain fingerprints from shrivelled hands, Dr Cárdenas' is thought to be the only one that can freshen up whole bodies.
They are bathed in a tank containing 60gallons (273litres) of his secret mixture



Since 2008 he has been plunging bodies – some shrivelled and scorched and some disfigured from accidents – into a tank that he refers to as the ‘jacuzzi’. It holds approximately 60 gallons (273 litres) of a secret chemical formula which magically turns back time and plumps up bodies left to soak for around five days.
The method has so far revealed scars, moles, tattoos and wounds as well as fingerprints that have been used to identify missing people. Heads shrivelled in the desert heat regain plump lips and bruises that hint at a person’s final moments.
Bodies go through seven stages of decomposition and Dr Cárdenas’ technique reverses two of these stages – putrefaction when the proteins in the body break down so that tissue rots and decomposition, when water in the body dries up – leaving shrivelled remains.

No one quite knows what goes into it, or exactly how it works. Hernández Cárdenas is careful to not divulge specifics about his Frankensteinian trick. If his patent request is approved, he stands to become the father of a new era of forensics and also make a bit of money. For all we know, his solution really is just water.

That said, he's not alone in this game. In 2005, American forensic researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi secured a patent for a similar rehydration technique, albeit for securing prints from rehydrated fingertips.

That's part and parcel of the sort of small-scale rehydration work being carried out at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tucson, Arizona, some four hours west of Juarez. This is arguably the hotbed of cases involving unidentified persons found dead in the sand on the American side of the border—since 2001, upwards of 2,000 people have died trying to enter Arizona by way of the vast Sonoran Desert, as The New York Times reports—and finds the PCOME in the unique position of having pioneered a revolutionary rehydration technique for fingertip ridge enhancement.

The PCOME technique, as it's called, uses sodium hydroxide, a highly caustic inorganic compound widely known as lye. It's a delicate dance, according to Dr. Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist with the medical examiner's office, which has been fine-tuning its groundbreaking technique for at least the past decade. Sodium hydroxide will plump up a finger or hand to a certain point, before dissolving it away entirely. Let that finger or hand soak for too long in sodium hydroxide, and the evidence will simply disappear.

This is the risk you run. You have to be able to recognize when enough's enough, when it's time to pull out that digit or hand, to then be dried, inked, and printed.

Sodium hydroxide might very well factor in Hernández Cárdenas' process. But we can still really only make educated guesses. When I asked Anderson if the lab in Tucson would ever consider doing a full-body rehydration, be it in sodium hydroxide or something else, he expressed reservations.

“Logistically, it’s very difficult,” Anderson told me. “I don’t see us going to that length."

In Anderson’s view, unless you’re looking for moles, scars, and tattoos, it just doesn’t make sense to stick an entire body into a vat of lye, say. Besides, he continued, “we don’t have a place to put bathtub-sized containers for 20, 30, 40 people who might benefit” from it. He added that he's not aware of a single medical examiner’s office in the US doing full-body rehydrations.

A culture of death has swept across much of Mexico. At discreet shrines across Juarez, mid-level cartel assassins and civilians alike make offerings to Santa Muerte, the female folk saint revered as death personified.

We might never know how Hernández Cárdenas does what he does. But we do know he's got his work cut out for him.

Juarez may no longer be the No. 1 most dangerous city in the world, a title it held as recently as 2009. But the city is still no stranger to death. It sits at the intersection of a coveted drug smuggling corridor (about 90 percent of the cocaine that ends up in the US today is muled through Mexico, mind you), the dumping grounds for exploited female laborers, and a high-traffic immigrant crossing.

Nearly 140,000 homicides were logged in Mexico between 2007 and 2013, according to figures from Mexico’s National Commission of Public Safety and the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics.

American figures paint a similarly tragic picture: The US State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices puts the number of people disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012 at 26,121. Of all the unidentified cadavers zipped into numbered body bags and either stored in morgue freezers or laid to rest in mass graves across Mexico, the report adds, 7,000 trace back to that same six-year period, arguably the bloodiest stretch in the ongoing drug wars.

If anything, this wave of violence has given rise to a class of experts in various fields, from ballistics to body analysis to forensic dentistry, many of whom look to Hernández Cárdenas as a sort of mentor. The question, then, is why does he do what he does?

Inside these tanks at around the 96-hour mark, after rotating the body in Jacuzzi, the doctor takesk us out to the Panteon Municipal San Rafael, a sprawling mass grave on the outskirts of Juarez. Roughly 5,000 bodies are buried here; at some point, many of them were unidentified. Some still are. If your body is putrefied enough, it'll automatically be marked 'unidentified,’ and even if you are eventually identified, for health reasons your remains have to stay put for five years.

And yet as bodies here are identified, families can set up monuments for their loved ones. It's being able to provide a sense of closure for grieving families, left sometimes for years with little to no idea about what might have happened to a love one, that pushes Hernández Cárdenas to continuing paying out of pocket (and right in the face of continued violence and the specter of the drug cartels, no less) to demonstrate his method's real value. In some cases, he told me, it could mean that a family is given the opportunity to hold an open-casket funeral.


Back at the morgue, our body looks eerliy lifelike. He's been extracted from the Jacuzzi, and splayed out for a full examination. The stench is overwhelming.

The doctor gives me the go ahead to touch the victim's face. His nose, cheeks, and lips are all plump to the touch, seemingly reinvigorated. The fingers, joints, and limbs are pliable. I can see small scars and abrasions from the accident. His forearms are scarred by self-inflicted wounds (suggesting he spent time fiending for drugs in jail, cutting himself to score pain killers), and all over his person are crude-looking tattoos, the sort you’d get after losing a bet in prison. One of them bears a striking resemblance to an ejaculating penis. Another, on one of the man's legs, reads: "sad memories."

These markers—the natural features, the wounds, the stick ‘n poke tats, the fingerprints—will be the raw evidence though which criminal investigators here will comb in an effort to put a name to the face. Should they find a match, authorities will notify the victim's family. If nothing turns up, his final resting place will be in a mass grave. Whatever happens, Hernández Cárdenas will continue amassing a macabre, if redemptive body of work.

Dr Cárdenas added that his patent-pending secret soak can reveal a corpse’s identity and sometimes the cause of death.
He has done hundreds of body part rehydrations and around a dozen full body soaks. When a body is taken out of the bath it feels plump and limbs and joints such as fingers are pliable – but it smells.
While he bathes the bodies, he talks to the corpses and condoles them, according to a report in The New York Times.
He sometimes plays them romantic music while they float, or turns on rap and hip-hop for victims whose faces look ‘menacing’.
Glycerin injections have long been used to reconstitute fingers from which to get fingerprints, but the method cannot be used for whole bodies.
It is of particular use in the dusty region, where bodies decompose and mummify rapidly in the fierce heat of the city and its surrounding desert landscape.
Dr Cárdenas does what many people might consider a grim job to give grieving families the chance to bury loved ones dumped in sprawling mass graves in the city of Ciudad Juarez (mapped) which contains unidentified bodies

Dr. Elizabeth Gardner, a forensic researcher at University of Alabama - Birmingham, corroborated that claim. She, too, said she doesn't know of anyone in America doing full-body rehydration R&D akin to Hernández Cárdenas. Gardner is, however, one of a small handful of players in the international forensic community who've seen first hand a mummified body rehydrating in Hernández Cárdenas' Jacuzzi at the forensic lab in Juarez.


 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2648468/Bringing-dead-life-Scientist-soaks-CORPSES-secret-formula-bath-make-easier-identify.html#ixzz38nkVzPLR 
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

tuSancho
My hat is off to people who do this sort of work.  I couldn't even finish reading the article.  But I can understand the value of his work.  Thanks for posting.
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

Mexico-Watcher
THANKS for posting this fascinating video.  

It is a tribute to Dr Cardenas and his forensic sciences staff.  MotherBoard did a great job of covering the topic of body identification from A to Z.... and as a bonus gave us insightful vignettes of the Doctor as a family man and humanitarian scientist dedicated to good science purposes.

There is so much negativity coming out of La Santisima  Muerte's Mejico, that to see something positive emerge for the world is just a little heartening.  

BTW #1 : As we saw in the video, tattoos on rehydrated bodies came out vividly strong.  Thus, I strongly advocate creating detailed and easily searchable digitized data bases on tattoos for nationals and even worldwide forensic applications. We already have AFIS (automated fingerprint Identification System), facial photos, various bio-metric measures, and DNA data bases... so adding tattoos seems supremely logical and relatively simple to use.... given that tattoos are "unique" both individually and in combination.

BTW#2: Possibly, the above is already being done, given the obviousness of the idea.

Mexico-Watcher
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

jlopez
In reply to this post by senorjoe
Now, if he can find a way to use it on live people, he would be a billionaire overnight. Just imagine how much Fausto Vallejo would pay to undergo the treatment and make him look alive again?
TRC
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

TRC
I wish he could do this with 30 of the unidentified girls murdered and in the process do deep forensics of cause of death, and injuries prior to death. Trace there final days and really look deep into who the actual perpetrators were. But just like all those that tried before, he would be silenced. We are left with knowing it was the police, cartel members, gang members, serial killers, copycat serial killers, and jealous husband and boyfriends. I would love to see some of them nailed for this. I guess it is too late now. Mexico has a 10 year statute of limitation on murder. But wouldn't it be nice to post the perps pic with the victims pic on about 20 of them.
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

Elnktropy
In reply to this post by senorjoe
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

Mexico-Watcher
In reply to this post by TRC
TRC wrote
I wish he could do this with 30 of the unidentified girls murdered and in the process do deep forensics of cause of death, and injuries prior to death. Trace there final days and really look deep into who the actual perpetrators were. But just like all those that tried before, he would be silenced. We are left with knowing it was the police, cartel members, gang members, serial killers, copycat serial killers, and jealous husband and boyfriends. I would love to see some of them nailed for this. I guess it is too late now. Mexico has a 10 year statute of limitation on murder. But wouldn't it be nice to post the perps pic with the victims pic on about 20 of them.
In the video, note that Dr Cardenas has a special regard for female murder victims.

I did not know that Mexico had a 10 year statute of limitation on murder.  IMO, given that Mexican criminals can virtually murder with impunity from the law, this is really a "retarded" policy (behind modern civilized  times and advances in forensic sciences) which actually invites vengeance crimes and murders.  

If someone murdered any of my loved ones and they could escape justice with impunity,  then, I'd sure be planning to take vengeance in my own way appropriate to the situation.  I think my way of thinking probably accounts for many homicides in "failed-State" nations like Mexico.  People simply take the law into their own hands when justice is denied.

Mexico-Watcher



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canadiana
Administrator
In reply to this post by senorjoe
Very interesting video thx for that definitely unique.
TRC
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

TRC
According to Diana Washington Valdez in her book The Killing Fields, as the cases became 10 years old they were closed because of the statute of limitation (10 years).
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

senorjoe
In reply to this post by senorjoe
does anybody know if the statue of limitations of 10 years in mexico,  is only for homicides?
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

senorjoe
In reply to this post by TRC
does anybody know if the statue of limitations of 10 years in mexico,  is only for homicides?
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

choco
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Re: Ciudad Juárez Doctor secret chem bath revives the dead for I.D.

senorjoe
gracias