Betty Pat Gatliff
Betty Patricia Gatliff (August 31, 1930 – January 5, 2020) was an American pioneer in the field of forensic art and forensic facial reconstruction. Working closely with forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow, she sculpturally reconstructed faces of individuals including the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, President John F. Kennedy, and the unidentified victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Betty Pat Gatliff
|Died||January 5, 2020 (aged 89)|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Alma mater||Oklahoma College for Women|
Gatliff was born in El Reno, Oklahoma and resided in Norman, Oklahoma. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma College for Women in 1951. She worked as a medical illustrator and technical illustrator for 27 years in the U.S. Civil service. She began a freelance career in 1979 as forensic sculptor, illustrator, and teacher.
In 1967, anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow and Gatliff worked at the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City. Snow recommended that Gatliff learn the techniques described in Wilton M. Krogman's book The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine (1962). Snow was able to identify the ancestry, gender and approximate age of a skull, while Gatliff used her art training to create a likeness of a face based on the skull and other scientific information. Working with Snow, Gatliff created a sculpture directly on the skull of an unidentified young man which led to his identification. The success of this early collaboration formed the foundation of the use of facial reconstruction from the skull in the United States. Together they developed the Gatliff/Snow American Tissue Depth Method. This method encompassed the work of other researchers which defines numerous "landmarks" on the skull and determines an average tissue depth for each location.
In 1978, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations began an investigation into the murder of President Kennedy. Gatliff created life-sized models of Kennedy's head for use in trajectory tests.
Also in 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested for the serial killings of 33 young men and boys in Illinois. Twenty-nine individual remains were found in the crawl-space beneath Gacy's home, with 24 positively identified. Gatliff created the clay facial reconstructions of the other nine unidentified victims, with at least one positive identification, and five tentative.
Gatliff was a technical consultant on the television series Quincy, M.E., creating forensic art reconstructions for the show, in which her hands were featured sculpting. Gatliff also contributed her forensic art techniques to the film Gorky Park.
- Richard Sandomir. "Betty Pat Gatliff, 89, Whose Forensic Art Solved Crimes, Dies - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
- "Alumni". University of Science and Arts.
- Taylor, Karen T. (2000). Forensic Art and Illustration. CRC Press. p. 25. ISBN 1420036955.
- Taylor, Karen T. (2000). Forensic Art and Illustration. CRC Press. p. 473. ISBN 1420036955.
- "Archives". People.
- "Clyde Snow Obituary". New York Times. New York Times.
- "Betty Pat Gatliff". IMDb. IMDb.
- Taylor, Karen T. (2000). Forensic Art and Illustration. CRC Press. p. 32. ISBN 1420036955.
- "Craniofacial Identification Educational Opportunities". Forensic Artist.com.
- Taylor, Karen T. (7 January 2020). "The Passing of a Forensic Legend". Retrieved 8 January 2020.
- Pettit, Emma. "Drawing the Dead: Artist with Arkansas roots aims to identify unknown". Arkansas Online. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Alumni
- Norman Library Hosts OCW Women Exhibit
- People Magazine July 21, 1980 Article Betty Pat Gatliff Sculpts Faces from Victims' Skulls—An Eerie Art That's Changing Criminal Science
- New York Times December 11, 1980 Article FACE RECONSTRUCTION IDENTIFIES UNKNOWN DEAD
- New York Times May 16, 2014 Clyde Snow Obituary
- Betty Pat Gatliff at Florida Gulf Coast University