WOWKTV reported yesterday that Tabitha Harper, mother of four children, was arrested on child abuse charges. The arrest occurred after deputies got a phone call from child protection services that her children were covered with bruises, scratches, and bite marks. Her 7-year-old daughter told deputies that her mother had bit her.
According to "Bite mark Identification" (Wagner, 2001), bite marks in children represent child abuse until proven differently and are rarely accidental. Also, bite marks are very good indicators in factual child abuse. In almost all cases of physical child abuse where biting occurred, the person who inflicted the bite mark is the person responsible for abusing the child.
A scientific study conducted by Trube-Becker demonstrated that in eleven out of forty-eight abuse cases, bite marks were present. Most of the reported cases are the result of attack bites and are not recognized or examined until a medical examiner is performing a death investigation post-mortem. The most common areas where bites were found were the arms, abdomen, and face.
The most common methods to determine if the suspect's teeth caused the bite mark include techniques that compare the pattern of the teeth with similar traits and characteristics present in life-sized photographs of the injury using transparent overlays. The most accurate technique includes using computer methods to compare shape, size, and position of teeth.