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ANT205 - Oct 3 (Finding and Recovering Remains).docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Carolan Wood

Locating and Recovering Human Remains - Terminology o Search area  All the terrain to be searched o Burial site  Grave itself, along with localized disturbance o Grave  Pit used for burial o Search indicators  Abnormalities used to detect a burial site - Involvement of authorities o Accidental discovery o Construction  Archaeological sites  Historical sites  Sometimes forensic o Hikers/hunters/kids/dog walkers  Recent remains o Organized searches  Tip from informant  Disappearance  Follow-up on found remains - Objectives of death scene investigation o Documentation o Preservation o If discovered by untrained people  Disturbance  Destruction o Prevent further loss o Collecting evidence destroys scene o Plan of action - Careful recovery techniques o Greater accuracy in evidence collection o Increased probability of collecting all evidence o Recovery of the maximum of skeletal remains to construct better biological profile o Document relationships between objects o Prevention of post-mortem damage to remains - Organizing a search o Preliminary investigation  Gathering information o Reconnaissance (offsite investigation) o Planning (formulate search strategy; set up logistics and assemble resources) o Search operation (brief all volunteers by telling them what they’re looking for and follow what procedure) o Mapping and recovery (by hand or small tools) - Gathering information (police) o People  Victim  Physical description  Clothing  Habits  Health  Disappearance incident  When, where, who last seen with, etc;  Potential witnesses  Reporting party  All friends and associates  Defendant/accomplice - Forensic anthropology o Body dumpsite characteristics  Where people “dump” bodies o Perpetrator’s concerns  Not be seen  Not be heard  Fast and easy - Body dumpsite characteristics (reduce the scope and give you an idea where to concentrate on initial effort) o Near a road/parking lot; able to drive in quickly o Downhill from road or even ground o Soil that’s easy to dig o Secluded o Accessible by flashlight o Usually on land owned by perpetrator or familiar to the perpetrator o Near the crime scene o Takes advantage of pre-existing features (landfill, water, well) - Consolidate information o Police  Crime o Anthropologist  Body dumpsite  Where to search and why  How to search - Reconnaissance o DO NOT ENTER SCENE o Overview  What to expect  Terrain  Vegetation  Size of search area  Potential hazards o Type of search possible - Planning – 3 approaches to locating human remains o Remote sensing  Taken at a distance  Plane or satellite  Aerial photography (finding things that weren’t there before)  Thermal imaging (decomposing body can be hot or cold depending on the time lapse or how long they’re dead) o Geophysical methods  Ground penetrating radar  Metal detector o Ground search - Ground search o
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