New Technology Will Help Police Find Bodies Based On Odors


Cadaver dogs searched for more than two days but could not find the body of a young woman who disappeared in 2000 while jogging in a Nashville park. A day later, a searcher spotted the body in a place the highly trained dogs had been, says The Tennessean. The body was too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death. “The dogs should have been able to seek the body out due to the decompositional odor,” said Metro Police Sgt. Pat Postiglione. “In this case, they were not able to do it.”

New technology in development 150 miles from Nashville could serve as an electronic nose when a canine’s doesn’t do the job. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are a few months away from completing a prototype that can detect the unique combination of chemicals the human body emits as it breaks down after death. The detector, which looks and works like a metal detector, should cost about $2,000. The scientists want to ensure it’s not out of reach for even the smallest police departments that lack quick access to well-trained cadaver dogs. Anything to improve the odds is a welcome tool for Postiglione, who investigates decades-old murders as a cold case detective.”There are missing persons over the years who disappeared as far back as the 1980s that are still missing and believed to be dead,” Postiglione said. “But there’s no proof of that.”


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