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Forensic Anthropologist Details the Stories Behind the Headlines

“Bone Remains: Cold Cases in Forensic Anthropology” by Mary H. Manhein available in September from LSU Press

08/28/2013 11:26 AM

BATON ROUGE – Over the past 30 years, forensic anthropologist Mary H. Manhein has helped to identify hundreds of deceased persons throughout Louisiana and beyond. In “Bone Remains,” available in September from LSU Press, she offers details of riveting cases from her files – many of them involving facial reconstructions where only bones offered clues to the victims’ stories.

Manhein takes readers into the field, inside her lab, and through DNA databases and government bureaucracies as she and her team tirelessly work to identify and seek justice for those who can no longer speak for themselves. From a 2,000-year-old mummy to Civil War sailors to graves disturbed by Hurricane Isaac, Manhein presents both modern and historic cases. Her conversational accounts provide a fascinating look into the stories behind the headlines and sometimes heart-wrenching details of people lost and found.

Through 15 cases Manhein shows how each came to her team, how they used scientific analysis to unravel the secrets the bones had to tell, and how facial reconstructions and a special database for missing and unidentified people assisted in closing cold cases long believed to be unsolvable.

“Bone Remains” also includes several mysteries she has yet to solve, further reflecting the determination and passion central to Manhein’s career for over three decades.

Manhein is the author of “The Bone Lady: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist,” “Trail of Bones: More Cases from the Files of a Forensic Anthropologist” and the mystery novel “Floating Souls: The Canal Murders.” She is director of the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services, or FACES, Laboratory at LSU.

For more information, contact Erin Rolfs at 225-578-8282 or or visit

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