'Bone Lady' Selected As SHSU’s Faculty Distinguished Lecturer

March 23, 2010
SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May

Mary H. ManheinPhysical anthropologist and bioarchaeologist Mary H. Manhein, who has handled more than 1,000 forensic cases during her 27 years of experience in field recovery and analysis of human skeletal remains, has been named Sam Houston State University’s Faculty Distinguished Lecturer.

She will present "Forensic Anthropology in the 21st Century: Myths, Miracles, and a Dose of Reality" on April 8 at 2 p.m. in the Mafrige Auditorium of the Smith-Hutson Business Building. The lecture is open to the public and there is no admission charge.

Manhein is the director of the Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Lab, director of the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified and Missing Persons Information Program, and Professional in Residence in Anthropology in LSU’s Department of Geography and Anthropology.

She has also served as deputy coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish since 1993 and is certified as an expert witness in forensic anthropology for Texas and Louisiana.

She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the author of two non-fiction books, The Bone Lady: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist and Trail of Bones: More Cases from the Files of a Forensic Anthropologist. Her first novel, Softly, They Die, is currently in review.

A member of the National Disaster Medical System DMORT (Disaster Mortuary Operational Response) Team, Region VI, Manhein assisted with recovery of the astronauts from the Columbia disaster and with cemetery recovery work during Hurricane Ike. She also participated in field retrieval and analysis of forensic cases involving major disasters at several oil refineries, and she has been called upon many times to serve as a consultant or investigator in the excavation of historic burial sites.

She is the recipient of the 2006 and 2007 College Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards at LSU and the author and presenter of numerous papers and reports on such topics as decomposition rates of deliberate burials, invivo facial tissue depth measurements for children and adults, the application of geographic information systems and spatial analysis to assess dumped and scattered human remains, and suicide by blasting caps.

Manheim has appeared on various national network programs including America’s Most Wanted, Discovery Health, and New Detectives and has been featured in special reports by CSNBC news and MSNBC news.

She has been a guest on more than 25 appearances of Fox TV’s “Missing” program in which clay facial reconstructions completed in her laboratory on unidentified persons were publicized over regional television. In 2004, Manhein’s work on Precious Doe was featured on A&E network’s “Cold Case Files.”

The SHSU Faculty Distinguished Lecturer Series has included such noteworthy figures as former president George Bush, Larry McMurtry, Liz Carpenter, Lech Walesa, Charlie Wilson, and many others.



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