Traumatic fractures in an early 19th century museum skeleton suggest the homicide of an old Munich character: the history of “Finessensepperl” (Finesse Joseph)

AbstractThe well preserved skeleton of Joseph Huber, a very well-known historical character of the 19th century Munich, also nicknamed “Finessen-Sepperl”, is the starting point of the reconstruction of life and death of this historical individual. He was known as apostilion d ´amour (love ’s messenger) of the Royal Bavarian capital with numerous comments and anecdotes and a few biographical sketches that indicate he remained well until the last few years of his life where requests for his duties lessened. The skeleton shows a small-sized male individual with almost complete loss of teeth, but otherwise very well-mineralized bone, having suffered from three episodes of trauma – an old-healed incomplete femoral neck fracture leading to severe osteoarthrosis, a clavicle fracture of the medial third with a few weeks old callus formation, and fresh serial rib fractures along wit h severe skull trauma with fractures of the os temporale and petrosum, presumably leading to intracranial bleeding and finally death. The type and distribution of these latter two injuries are in agreement with a murderous attack – which was retrospectively reported several years after his death, while the old-healed femoral neck fracture may have caused reduction in Joseph´s walking activities but not reduced requests for his services. Paleopathology not only identifies the terminal decline, but also previous diseases of this Old Bavarian character and thereby completes his story.
Source: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology - Category: Forensic Medicine Source Type: research