Molina, CM and Pringle, JK and Saumett, M and Hernández, O (2015) Preliminary results of sequential monitoring of simulated clandestine graves in Colombia, South America, using ground penetrating radar and botany. Forensic Science International, 248. 61 -70. ISSN 0379-0738

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Abstract

In most Latin American countries there are significant numbers of missing people and forced disappearances, 68,000 alone currently in Colombia. Successful detection of shallow buried human remains by forensic search teams is difficult in varying terrain and climates. This research has created three simulated clandestine burial styles at two different depths commonly encountered in Latin America to gain knowledge of optimum forensic geophysics detection techniques. Repeated monitoring of the graves post-burial was undertaken by ground penetrating radar. Radar survey 2D profile results show reasonable detection of ½ clothed pig cadavers up to 19 weeks of burial, with decreasing confidence after this time. Simulated burials using skeletonized human remains were not able to be imaged after 19 weeks of burial, with beheaded and burnt human remains not being able to be detected throughout the survey period. Horizontal radar time slices showed good early results up to 19 weeks of burial as more area was covered and bi-directional surveys were collected, but these decreased in amplitude over time. Deeper burials were all harder to image than shallower ones. Analysis of excavated soil found soil moisture content almost double compared to those reported from temperate climate studies. Vegetation variations over the simulated graves were also noted which would provide promising indicators for grave detection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: botany, forensic geophysics, forensic science, GPR, simulated grave
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Physical and Geographical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 10:06
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 13:15
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/408

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