By Marvin Gonzalez
Anthony Falsetti has dedicated himself to giving a face to the faceless through his expertise in forensic anthropology.
Falsetti, professor of forensics at Arizona State University’s West campus, has made a career out of identifying unidentified human remains—whether from mass fatalities, individual cases, or human rights violations.
Falsetti has worked across the globe, identifying missing persons from Sarajevo as deputy director of forensics science for the International Commission of Missing Persons in the aftermath of the Bosnian War to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Since joining ASU, Falsetti has collected data for a prospective digital forensic imaging center. Falsetti hopes the center becomes an interdisciplinary training ground for future forensic artists and scientists who will help identify the more than 44,000 unnamed bodies in the United States.
He took a step closer to this ambition through PitchFunder— ASU’s crowdfunding platform. Through the campaign, his team raised enough money to purchase an instrument crucial to making the imaging center a reality. “We were able to get the [NextEngine 3D] scanner and software, and we are going to start scanning skulls to create an archive,” Falsetti says.
The portable scanner allows Falsetti to collect images from medical examiners’ offices across the west. With the scans, Falsetti works with forensic artists to create facial reconstructions, which become part of a database. Once in the database, images can be matched to missing persons.
“Ultimately, we’d like to do this nationally,” Falsetti says.