A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Detection of Clandestine Graves
REFERENCE: Davenport, G. C.,
France, D. L., Griffin, T. J., Swanburg, J. G., Lindemann, J. W., Tranunell, V.,
C. T., Kondrateiff, B., Nelson, A., Castellano, K., and Hopkins, D., "A
Multidisciplinary Approach to the Detection of Clandestine Graves," Journal of
Forensic Sciences, JFSCA. VOL. 37, NO. 6, November 1992, pp. 1445-1458.
A multidisciplinary team that is comprised of
professionals from industry, academia, and law enforcement who are studying methods to
locate clandestine graves has been formed in Colorado. This article describes this team,
research conducted, and preliminary results directed toward identifying the most effective
means of locating buried bodies.
KEYWORDS: forensic science, clandestine graves
In 1986, Colorado law enforcement officials were presented with the
following situation: approximately a dozen bodies were according to rumor and stated by an
informant, buried over several square kilometers on a large ranch on the eastern Colorado
plains. These bodies were allegedly interred over the course of several years. How could
law enforcement best approach the problem of location, evaluation, and exhumation of a
clandestine grave in such a manner as to preserve evidence and maximize its eventual use
in a court of law?
The above incident was a catalyst for the formation
of Project PIG ("Pigs In Ground"), because of the limitations found with the
traditional methods in the location and excavation of clandestine graves. Although a few
graves were found on the eastern Colorado ranch, it is believed that additional bodies are
still undiscovered, so the techniques learned from the study described herein are expected
to produce additional discoveries if the search on this ranch is reconvened. Project PIG
continues to evolve as a research project designed to investigate methods and technologies
that will prove even more effective in locating clandestine graves and recovering the
contents. The study addresses the applicability of techniques and methodologies in
identifying, monitoring, and where possible, quantifying the changes in the clandestine
grave system. This system as defined by the authors is the dynamic interrelationship among
the grave, its contents and total surroundings (see glossary for additional terms).
Project PIG involves professionals from academia,
industry, and law enforcement assembled to share methodology, data, and information. To
this end, a resource bank of interested specialists, has been established and continues to
be updated to facilitate intercommunication relating to clandestine graves.
The purpose of this article is twofold:
It is hoped that this article will encourage other
professionals to cross those real or imagined barriers segregating their specialized
fields of interest, and to pool knowledge, skills, and techniques in addressing the
detection of clandestine graves.
to share the results of the in-progress study being conducted in
to encourage similar studies in other geographical areas and
Only a few studies listed in the literature
concentrate on multidisciplinary methods directed toward the location of buried human
remains. The Boyd [I ], Imaizumi , Andermac [31, and Bass and Birkby  (which also
offers the rationale behind proper excavation techniques) studies offer overviews of some
of the techniques also used in the PIG research. The most recent publication offering a
comprehensive survey in search techniques is by Killam .
Although no group has undertaken a study of as many
multidisciplinary techniques as presented in the Project PIG research, many articles
address individual methods for locating clandestine graves. Davenport et al., [6,7]
discuss the ways in which geoscientists work with law enforcement, while Hoving 
describes the use of a small ground penetrating radar (GPR) unit for locating buried
Other studies have used pigs to research individual
aspects of clandestine grave systems. Haglund et al. [9-1 1 ] and Haskel have studied the
scavenging and scatter patterns of pig and human remains. Haskel in addition, researched
The role of insects and other arthropods in the
decay process of human remains has been reviewed by Nuorteva  and Smith . Studies
using unembalmed cadavers or pigs have elucidated a specific succession of arthropods and
the resulting decompositional process [14-19]. Rodriguez and Bass  have addressed
entomological methods and their relationship to depth of burial and local climatic
conditions. Tolburst and Reed [2 1 ] present information in the training and use of dogs
for locating shallow graves.
In an effort to enhance a multidisciplinary
approach, many techniques for clandestine grave-site location are being applied at a
research area in Colorado. Preliminary results of the study were reported at the May 1989
conference in Denver of the Rocky Mountain Division of the International Association for
Currently the Project PIG team consists of experts
in crime scene and laboratory analysis, aerial photography, thermal imagery, geology and
pedology, geophysics, geochemistry, petrology, botany, entomology, wildlife biology,
scent-detection dogs, archaeology, and forensic anthropology.
The primary research site is located on the
Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Facility in Douglas County, Colorado,
approximately 29 km (I 8 miles) south of Denver. As part of a 0.47 square km (I 17 acre)
law enforcement training facility, it offers an area of controlled access. The training
facility occupies a west-flowing drainage that feeds Plum Creek, a major tributary of the
South Platte River. Elevation at the site averages 1829 meters (6000 feet) above sea
level. The research site is on undeveloped ranch land that borders the western edge of
Daniels Park, one of the parks of the Denver Mountain Parks system. Topographically the
country surrounding the training facility consists of gently rolling, brush-covered
uplands that change into partially developed badlands and low mesa topography with
increasing elevation. The upper slopes of the badlands/mesa country support stands of
To date, six pigs have been buried at the research
site. Their weights, burial information, gravesite descriptions, and other pertinent
information are listed in Table 1.
Pigs are currently being used for two reasons. At
present, human cadavers are unavailable for studies of this kind in Colorado. Also, these
pigs are similar to humans in their weight (70 kg or 154 lb), their fat-to-muscle ratio,
and in the fact that their skin is not heavily haired. Pigs have been considered to be
biochemically and physiologically similar enough to humans to be used in studies of
patterns and rates of decay and scavenging [22-251. Of equal importance, dog handlers
recognize that if a dog can detect pig remains, it can also detect human remains.
Prior to burial of the first pig in September of
1988, baseline data consisting of black and white aerial photographs, geophysical
measurements, and geological observations, were acquired for the research site.
Near-field and far field data gathering were
performed prior to and after burial. The definitions of near- and far-field are dependent
on the specific discipline, in that nearfield refers to anything that is interacting,
within the burial system, while far-field is outside of the range of influence of the
burial system. For example, measurements of soil gas may only be above background levels
within a few centimeters of a burial, whereas arthropod activity related to a burial may
cover a much broader area.
Far-field observations contemporaneous with burial
for this study include botany, entomology, geology/pedology, aerial photography,
geophysics, thermal imagery, soil gas, scavenging patterns, and the use of
cadaver-scenting, dogs. Near-field observations contemporaneous with and after burial
include all of the above. A disturbance is a physical disruption associated with burial
processes. A control site is undisturbed both at the surface and subsurface, and therefore
is remote from the burial site. A calibration pit is a grave without an interred pig,
while a grave contains a pig. Back dirt is excess soil deposited near the perimeter of the
grave or calibration pit. It is understood that there are disturbances geographically
close to the burial system but still identified as far-field in that they are not part of
the burial process, for example roads, animal burrows, building foundations, etc.
Aerial photography was performed far-field, in an
attempt to identify nearfield parameters from the air. Aerial photographic surveying was
performed on a periodic basis, consisting of both visible spectrum color and black and
white film. A turbo-charged. Cessna 206 Aircraft containing two Zeiss RMK/A 15-23 aerial
cameras and one KA-2 12-inch aerial camera were used. Film types used are Kodak Aerocolor
negative type 2445, Kodak infrared color film type 2443, and Kodak black and white XX film
type 2405. This provides standard 9 inch by 9 inch stereophoto coverage.
The purpose of the geologic investigation at the
Project PIG site was to define the geologic character of the site, to relate this
character to the individual burial sites, to establish site recognition and evaluation
parameters, and to suggest lines of future geologic study and investigation.
Literature research and far-field studies were
performed to establish the geologic character and stratigraphic setting of the project
site. This involved definition of rock types, establishment of the age relationships among
the rock types, and the evaluation of the effect of rock type on subsequent soil
formation. Far-field studies also involved relating the physical character (geomorphology)
of the project area to the distribution of underlying rock types (stratigraphy).
The near-field studies on the sites and the related
far-field studies focused on the definition of soil profiles at specific burial sites,
road cuts, and other excavations; the relationship of these soil profiles to the parent
rock units; and how soil composition and character affects the recovery of a soil profile
to a "normal" state. All burial sites have been and continue to be monitored and
photographed to document the recovery of the soil profiles.
As part of the far-field study of vegetation,
percent area cover for bare soil (back dirt), litter, and herbaceous vegetation was
estimated, and a total species list was prepared listing the plants found within the
Near-field study of vegetation included listing the
plants growing on each grave, calibration pit and back dirt area. For the near-field
study, a 1 -meter by 0.5-meter rectangle of PVC pipe was set at the approximate center of
the test plot (grave, control pit, etc.) and vegetation was analyzed from within that test
plot. Far-field study was tested in the same manner, with the 1 meter by 0.5-meter
rectangle of PVC pipe set at various areas away from the test plots. The areas for
far-field study are not the same for each test, but are taken approximately at random
within the training facility in the general vicinity of the test plots. Frequency of
species was determined by counting the number of rectangular plots on which a particular
plant species was found. For example, Wheat grass was found on four disturbed plots
(either a grave or calibration pit) and on two undisturbed sites, while Sunsedge was found
on no disturbed sites and on three undisturbed sites.
After the pigs were scavenged from Sites #1, 2, and
5, members of the team decided to cover the unscavenged grave sites with heavy chain link
fencing to protect those graves from further scavenging. Although vegetation on the grave
is potentially altered, some plant growth is allowed, and the fencing can be easily
removed for near-field investigations such as geophysical surveying.
A control site was established to examine the
airborne and surface insects. A BioQuip Malaise trap was erected to monitor aerial
dispersing insects, and was cleaned of all insects 1, 2, 4, 7, 12, 15, 25, and 30 days
after pigs were buried. In addition, this type of trap was erected directly over burial
site # I and cleaned of all insects at the above schedule. Additionally, five pit traps
were placed around the site to sample surface dispersing arthropods, and were monitored
and cleaned at the above schedule.
Three specific geophysical methods were selected for
evaluation at the PIG site: magnetics (MAG), electromagnetics (EM) and ground penetrating
radar (GPR). The selection of these methods was based on the direct experience of one of
the authors (Davenport) in implementing Geophysical investigations on archaeological
Far-field geophysical investigations entailed
measuring total field magnetic intensity, establishing background conductivities and
correlating subsurface stratigraphic horizons with ground-penetrating radar all within the
Project PIG site.
The near-field studies included performing total
field and gradient MAG profiles, EM profiles in both quadrature and in-phase components
and GPR profiles over each burial site and calibration pit. MAG surveys were performed on
some of the planned gravesites prior to interment of the pigs.
The equipment utilized has included a magnetometer
with gradiometer attachment, an EM-31 ground conductivity meter, and a subsurface
interfacing radar with digital data recording and color display capabilities. The GPR
system has been evaluated using 30 megahertz (MHz), 300 MHz and 900 MHz antennas. Self
potential (SP) surveying and soil gas (SG) techniques have also been used at the PIG site,
but not as extensively as the other geophysical methods. The SG surveying was performed
utilizing a Photovac 10570 Portable Gas Chromatograph, while the SP surveying was done
with a high impedance voltmeter and Tinker &, Rasor electrodes. Geophysical surveying
was performed in either linear or grid arrays, with data collection points spaced from I
to 3 meters apart, except in the case of GPR surveying, which produces a continuous record
of data collection. Geophysical arrays were arranged to provide data over undisturbed
areas, graves and calibration pits.
The results of geophysical surveys applied to the
location and delineation of clandestine graves have been encouraging. Once suspected
target areas are defined by other techniques, geophysical surveys can be rapidly run using
Thermal imaging was performed using a Xedar Model
XS-420 Infrared Camera System. Far-field thermal imagery, consisted of obtaining high
quality thermal images of steadystate and dynamic scenes by panning the camera across the
terrain of the Project PIG site, whereas, near-field infomiation was obtained by aiming
the camera toward and fixing it on each grave and calibration pit.
Soil gas sampling of the far-field consisted of
determining background levels of methane and other volatile organic compounds throughout
Project PIG Site. Near-field studies were performed by taking soil gas readings directly
over graves and calibration pits.
Standard far-field and near-field investigations
become less defined for work with scent detection dogs, as the dog defines those fields
itself. The ability of the scent detection dogs to locate the buried pigs was tested using
the following standard search techniques. The dog was controlled on a lead of usually 5
meter (I 5 feet) in length at all times, and "worked" on a zig-zag pattern
downwind of the suspected area. The zig-zag pattern was maintained for the dog until it
alerted to a scent, at which point the dog was allowed to work its own search pattern to
Naturalists trained in animal tracking and familiar
with the habits of indigenous species were responsible for identifying scat and animal
tracks. This information was used to develop scavenging patterns related to the burial
sites. Patterns of bone modification related to scavenging were studied. Standard
far-field and near-field investigations also become blurred in studies of scavenging, as
those terms are defined by where the scavenged remains, scat, and the agents of scavenging
(coyotes, mountain lions, dogs, rodents, etc.) are found.
Aerial photography can be very useful in delineating
grave sites. Grave sites are revealed by a number of factors in the air photographs taken
at the research site. These factors include changes in growth patterns and characteristics
of near-field vegetation, anomalous soil marks associated with excavational boundaries,
and settlement of snow within some grave surface depressions. Low sun angle oblique
photographs tend to emphasize texture of the around surface, and the associated long
shadows can reveal minute topographic relief.
At the research site, short term (less than five
years) geological effects are enhanced by climatic conditions. The climatic conditions
that typify Colorados eastern plains offer extreme consequences affecting both the
soil character and the rate and nature of soil recovery over the graves. Climatic
conditions during late spring, summer and fall, and often into early winter tend to be
dry. The dry conditions are inhibiting plant reestablishment over the graves and retard
breakdown of the disturbed clay-rich host soil horizon. Lack of moisture largely
neutralizes mechanical breakdown of fill material that is characteristic of periodic
The moist climatic conditions of winter, spring and
early summer enhance rapid breakdown of clay soils. Excavation boundaries tend to become
masked, fill material becomes generally more fine-grained, and the compaction of the fill
material to the original surface grade is facilitated.
Excavations made during dry climatic conditions
persist with little change throughout the dry season. Moisture enhances grave site
recovery and plant establishment.
The graves and calibration pits are revegetating,
though the mix of plants on the disturbed areas is noticeably different than on the
undisturbed areas. Vegetation on the disturbed sites depends on several factors, including
which plants are nearby and supplying seeds to the disturbed ground and where in the
landscape digging was done (in drainage areas or in high ground). For example, the pig at
Site 6 was laid on top of the ground in a drainage ditch, and dirt from another area was
deposited on top of it. Even though the pig was taken by scavengers, the disturbed area is
revegetating differently than the rest of the sites, because the seeds in the foreign soil
are different from the indigenous plants, and the drainage ditch provides extra water for
Although the percent cover for each site does not
differ, the species covering each site are different. After three years, the grave sites
are revegetating similarly to the calibration pits, and the presence of a decaying pig has
not significantly affected plant growth.
Vegetation analysis on the eight sites shows that:
- Digging a grave will destroy existing vegetation
and set succession in motion.
- Pioneer plants will be the first to grow on the
disturbed area. In lowland dry grass areas these might include alyssum (Alyssum minus),
Japanese brome grass (Bromus jaconicus), and dandelion (Taraxacum
- Vegetation changes as the grave progresses through
the serial stages of succession.
Eventually the climax vegetation for the area will grow on the graves
and calibration pits if they remain undisturbed. For low-land dry grass areas this
includes blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis), other grasses and many wild flowers. The
disturbed area (grave or calibration pit) will look different from the surrounding area
for many years (exceeding so far, the duration of this study).
Knowledge of the plants of an area can supply clues to the
discovery of an area, particularly where the vegetation is largely otherwise undisturbed.
There was no visible entomological indication of the
buried pig, such as evidence of surface stains from saponification/liquification ca. 30
days after burial. The blowfly, Calliphora vomitoria was trapped by the Malaise trap
within 24h or burial, and Phonnia regina arrived 48 h after burial. By day 15, significant
numbers (P = <0.05) of blowflies were trapped over the burial site as compared with
control sites. No arthropods typically considered to be forensic indicators were trapped
by the pit traps.
In the case of MAG and EM surveys data are gathered
and presented in the field via use of a portable computer. These data can be presented in
the form of contour maps or as individual profiles. The GPR data are acquired in real time
format, that is, the results are immediately available to geophysicists in the field. Work
at the PIG site has demonstrated that SP surveying has very limited application in
delineating clandestine graves at this site.
Monitoring with MAG surveys after interment
demonstrates that MAG surveys can be used at this site to detect areas of excavation, even
when metallics are not present. This effect, a MAG anomaly, appears to be directly related
to a reorientation of magnetic soil particles upon backfilling the graves. EM surveys have
proven more useful than MAG as the ground conductivity changes over graves due to the
increased porosity of the backfill materials. EM surveys can be utilized to determine
changes in ground conductivity and to detect the presence of ferrous and nonferrous
metallics. GPR surveys offer the investigator the most useful tool to delineate possible
graves. Soil changes and/ or excavation patterns can be readily identified by trained GPR
operators. The addition of color monitoring to the normally black and white monitoring
capabilities of the GPR systems allows investigators to easily identify changes in soil
Perhaps the most -important result of the
geophysical surveying at the PIG site has been the realization of the importance of
constructing a calibration site to test any geophysical method prior to application on an
actual investigation. Any information concerning the type and/or construction of the
disposal facility should be used to construct a similar, albeit empty, facility near the
actual area to be investigated. The geophysicists can utilize this "calibration"
site to determine the following:
Response of different geophysical methods
Type and characteristics of the geophysical signal
Profile and data station separation(s)
The soil gas surveying performed at the research
site holds promise of providing a useful, albeit labor intensive, technique to locate
graves. Organic gases were detected within three meters of two of the grave sites;
however, the investigators had the privilege of knowing in advance the locations of these
sites. Soil gas surveying is best in soils with a low clay content (so as not to clog the
probes) and over unfrozen ground.
The successful use of dogs is affected most
significantly by weather conditions. There is a decrease in a dogs scenting ability
at temperatures above 29Â°C (85Â°F). Excessive heat causes some discomfort to the dog and
this may affect the dogs ability to locate a scent. When the temperature is
extremely high the dog will still locate the scent; however in most cases, it will need to
be within approximately a meter of the source. Even if the temperature is high, the
results will improve if the ground is moist. Extremely low temperatures also limit the
dogs ability to detect the scent from a distance, especially if the source is
buried. If the source is buried in snow with temperatures allowing only minimal melting,
the dog must be directly over the source to locate it. If the temperature is warm enough
to allow for significant melting the dog can locate the source from a greater distance.
Other significant factors affecting the dogs
work include air humidity, ground moisture and windspeed. Humidity seems to intensity the
dogs ability to detect the source at a distance. The ground should be fairly moist,
ideally to the depth of the source, or so dry that desiccation cracks intercept the source
(Major Glen Rimbey, New Mexico State Penitentiary, personal communication). If no wind is
present, the dog will have difficulty detecting a scent except from immediately above the
Based on experience at the research and other sites,
the optimal conditions for the successful use of cadaver dogs includes temperatures
between 4 and 16Â°C (40Â° to 60Â°F), 20% or higher humidity, very moist ground, and
windspeed of at least 8 km (5 miles) per hour (there is no upper limit to
though the scent cone becomes narrower with higher windspeeds).
Animal tracks or scat identified in the research
area include dog, coyote, fox, rabbit, deer, elk, skunk. raccoon, horse, cattle,
porcupine, woodrat, and mouse.
Intensive, systematic searches within I -km radius
of the site have recovered bones of deer, cattle, horses" canids, and rabbits. No
large pig bones were found. A fragment of pig scapula was found within the I -km radius.
Many fresh bone chips were found around Site 1, indicating scavenging. Several incisors,
as well as bone chips were found around Site 2. Pig hair was found on the surface of Site
5 and on the grave sides of Site I. Pig hair and fresh bone chips were found in coyote
scat near burial Site 1. The most likely scavenging agent in this area is coyotes, and the
modifications of recovered bone are consistent with those reported for canids. The absence
of large bones within the I km search radius suggests that the remains were carried a
greater distance than the approximately 0.2 km maximum reported by Haglund et al., though
as Haglund mentions (personal communication), the ranges of coyotes vary considerably with
differences in terrain and vegetation. Our research site provides an opportunity to study
the scavenging distance in a relative open environment, to supplement Haglunds study
in a heavily forested environment.
Table 2 summarizes the
experiences gained by research done at the known pig burials. Based upon what it has
learned at the site, the Project PIG team has applied these techniques to suspected
criminal burial sites.
It is imperative that an agency requesting
assistance in locating buried human remains consult specialists in each of the above
disciplines to determine which of the techniques are applicable to the specific crime
scene. In the multidisciplinary approach reported here, it is important to follow a
progression from completely nondestructive to increasingly invasive procedures such that
evidence collection is optimized while evidence disturbance is minimized.
Although there are many authors of this article,
there are many other individuals involved with the PIG team without whose contributions
neither this article nor the research would be possible. These participants and their
areas of specialization are listed below. If you wish to contact these researchers, please
notify the senior author.
Jane Bock. Ph.D. (botany): David Norris. Ph.D.
(botany): Don Heimmer, M.S. (geochemistry); Edward Killam, M.A. (private investigator);
Theodore P. Paster, Ph.D. (petrography-geology); Hans Bucher. M.S.E.E. (thermal imagery);
Jim Grady, Ph.D. (archaeology. aerial photography); Steve Ireland, M.A. (archaeology);
Bill Youngblood (aerial photography);TitnDeignan. B.S. (geophysics).
In addition, our thanks go to William Hasilund,
Ph.D., King County Medical Examiners Office in Seattle, Wash., for reading and
providing insightful comments. The members of this project also wish to thank the Arapahoe
and Douglas County Sheriffs Departments for the use of the training facility on
which the research of Project PIG is conducted.
Questions or comments about this article or about
specific aspects of the research can be addressed initially to the senior author, who will
direct requests for information. In addition, we are formulating a data bank of interested
individuals, therefore if you wish additional information about setting up a group of this
type in your area, please contact one of the following participants. We will help you
-contact other researchers or law enforcement personnel in your area.
Jack G. Swanburg, Arapahoe County Sheriffs
Department, 5686 S. Court Place, Littleton, CO 80120. (303) 7954772-. or
Tom Griffin. Colorado Bureau of Investigation. 690
Kipling. Denver. CO 80215,(303)2394303-
Table 2 - Advantages and
Disadvantages of methods used at Project PIG.
Least destructive. Provides good overall
characterization of a site; access, culture, drainage, topography. Large area covered.
Preburial photos may be available from variety of sources.
Best results with large film format (scale of readily
available photography maybe too small). May need to be performed at different times of
growing season. Natural (trees, etc.) and man-made (power lines, etc.) may interfere with
interpretation. Requires trained person for interpretation. May be moisture dependant.
Relatively non-destructive. Noninstrusive if cores not
taken. Determination of site stratification through core sample. "Real-time"
on-site information about ground surface.
Intrusive if core samples taken. Entire search area
should be viewed.
Relatively nondestructive. Can be performed with
photographs and samples from area. Can be performed years later.
Similar succession pattern for any distrubance within
ecosystem: not limited to burial.
Relatively nondestructive. Nonintrusive. Equipment
easily obtained. Rapid coverage of large area. Works over snow, fresh, salt water.
Only for ferrous material. Target could be missed if
search grid too large. Data not in "real-time". Values must be plotted and
should be controurd. Magnetic interferences (natural, and man-made) confuse readings.
Relatively nondestructive. Nonintrusive. Rapid coverage
of large area. Equipment relatively easily obtained. For ferrous/nonferrous materials.
Records conductivity. Works over/through snow.
Subject to cultural (fences, etc.) interferences.
Target could be missed if search grid too large. Difficult in rough terrain. Data not in
"real-time", values must be plotted and should be contoured.
Geophysics, Ground Penetrating
Relatively nondestructive. Nonintrusive. Fairly rapid
coverage of large area. "Real-time" display. Works over/through snow, fresh
Equipment relatively difficult to obtain. Most units
require moderatley smooth & level terrain.
Geophysics, Self Potential
Relatively nondestructive. Equipment easily obtained.
Intrusive. No worthwhile information from our research.
Relatively nondestructive. "Real-time"
information. Theoretically sound.
Intrusive. Must be positioned relatively close to
burial. Site soil, ground moisture, climate, depth of probe critical. Detection of
decomposition product(s) time and temperature dependent.
Geophysics, Metal Detector
Relatively nondestructive. Nonintrusive. Equipment
Limited depth capability, detects only metal
(ferrous/nonferrous) objects, presumes metal objects on or with body. Field applications
often improperly conducted.
Nondestructive. Can examine large area.
Requires little or no wind. Requires special equipment
and knowledgeable operators.
Relatively nondestructive. Proven effective even 170
years after burial. Effective over water.
Most effective when air, ground moist. Dog may be
trained for other uses and not properly trained for this type of work; handler may
Excellent for information concerning scavenging cases
and outdoor information.
Ability to recognize animal scavenging may be altered
by climatic conditions. Tracking easiest in snow, mud, soft sand or dust.
Experienced in mapping, data collection, preservation
of information from excavated materials, and is therefore extremely valuable for building
Both destructive and intrusive. Though data collection
can be modified to meet time demands, can be relatively slow.
Crime scene experience. Access to statements and
information from victims, witnesses, suspects. Familiar with evidence recovery, legal
concerns, court testimony. Contacts with other law enforcement agencies for similar
Wants information immediately.
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