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Analysis of Soil Following the Search and Recovery of a Cold Case Homicide Grave: Potential Implications for Police Led Open Area Ground Searches for Burials

Donnelly, Laurance, CASSELLA, John, Pirrie, Duncan, Dawson, Lorna, Arnold, Peter, BLOM, Giorgio, DAVIDSON, Alison and HARRISON, Mark (2018) Analysis of Soil Following the Search and Recovery of a Cold Case Homicide Grave: Potential Implications for Police Led Open Area Ground Searches for Burials. In: Forensic Soil Science and Geology - Special Publication. Geological Society of London. (In Press)

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Abstract or description

Police received intelligence giving the location of a grave believed to contain the
remains of a person previously reported as missing several years ago and now
believed to be a victim of homicide. The location was accessible by a few roads and
tracks. An open-area, scenario-based, search strategy was designed and deployed to
locate the grave. This comprised the delineation of the outer search boundary, the
removal of dense vegetation, the systematic deployment of detector dogs, geophysics
and soil probing. Following a systematic search, the murder victim's body was found at
a shallow depth, less than approximately 1m. Following the forensic recovery of the
body soil samples were collected at, beneath the floor, of the grave, along strike of the
grave, downslope and upslope. Analysis of the soil samples showed elevated levels of
putrescine, at nearly 150 ppb at the grave, downslope and for several meters upslope
at localities where detector dogs had showed an 'interest' before the grave was
discovered. The mineralogical analysis, using integrated automated mineralogy and
petrology (QEMSCAN), detected the presence of diagentic calcite in the soil profile
beneath the grave. Additionally, the organic analysis detected the presence of elevated
stanols at the grave site and downslope.

Item Type: Book Chapter, Section or Conference Proceeding
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
Depositing User: John CASSELLA
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2018 09:50
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2018 15:24
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/4774

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