Molina, C, Vasquez, AJB, Wisniewski, K, Heaton, V and Pringle, JK (2021) Monitoring of simulated clandestine graves of dismembered victims using UAVs, electrical tomography and GPR over one year to aid investigations of human rights violations in Colombia, South America. Journal of Forensic Sciences. ISSN 0022-1198

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In most Latin American countries there are significant numbers of missing people and forced disappearances, over 90,000 in Colombia alone. Successful detection of shallow buried human remains by forensic search teams is difficult in varying terrain and climates. Previous research has created controlled simulated clandestine graves of murder victims to optimize search techniques and methodologies. This paper reports on a study on controlled test site results over four simulated dismembered victims' clandestine graves as this is sadly a common scenario encountered in Latin America. Multispectral images were collected once post-burial, electrical resistivity surveys were collected 4 times and ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys collected three times up to the end of the 371 day survey monitoring period. After data processing, results showed that the multispectral dataset could detect the simulated clandestine and control graves, with electrical resistivity imaging relative high resistances over some of the simulated graves but not over the empty control graves. GPR results showed good imaging on the Day 8 surveys, medium imaging on the Day 294 surveys and medium to good imaging on the Day 371 surveys. Study implications suggest that, whilst clandestine graves of dismembered homicide victims would likely result in smaller-sized graves when compared to graves containing intact bodies, these graves can still potentially be detected using remote sensing and geophysical methods.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information, including copyrights and more, can be found on the publisher website.
Uncontrolled Keywords: drones; electric resistivity tomography; forensic science; GPR; graves; human rights
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2021 14:28
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2022 01:30

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