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Analysis of Soil Following a Police Led Open Area Search and the Recovery of a Cold Case Homicide Grave

Donnelly, Laurance, CASSELLA, John, Pirrie, Duncan, Dawson, Lorna, BLOM, Giorgio, DAVIDSON, Alison, Arnold, Peter, Harrison, Mark and Hope, Colin (2019) Analysis of Soil Following a Police Led Open Area Search and the Recovery of a Cold Case Homicide Grave. Geological Society London, Special Publications,, 492. ISSN 0305-8719

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Abstract or description

Abstract: Police in the United Kingdom received information that a person had gone missing. Despite a diligent search and investigation, the person was not found. Several years later police received intelligence giving the location of a grave believed to contain the remains of the person previously reported as missing and now believed to be a victim of homicide. This new information suggested the missing person had been murdered and their remains buried in shallow, unmarked grave. Following a systematic search, the murder victim’s body was found at a shallow depth, less than approximately 1 m. 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 in the soils beneath, 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 diagenetic calcite in the soil profile beneath the grave. Additionally, the organic analysis detected the presence of elevated stanols at the grave site and down slope.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Geological Society London, Special Publications, Vol 492 [URL of the item as published by Geological Society of London] © Geological Society of London 2020.”
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
Depositing User: John CASSELLA
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2020 14:36
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:59

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