When we die, we will decompose and we may be colonized by carrion insects. These insects recycle our bodies back to the earth but, as insects develop at a predictable rate and colonize in a predictable sequence, they can be used to indicate the minimum elapsed time since death, which is extremely important in a homicide investigation. Insects are often the first witnesses to a crime. Knowing the time of death can make or break an alibi and help identify an unknown victim. Carrion insects can also indicate whether the body has been moved or disturbed, has suffered wounds or has been poisoned, and can even be used to identify a victim when no body is found. In living victims, insects may cleanse necrotic wounds and can be used to estimate how long an abused or neglected person or pet has suffered.