Using ground-penetrating radar to locate clandestine graves of homicide victims: Forming forensic archaeology partnerships with law enforcement

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Homicide Studies, ISSN: 1088-7679, Vol: 11, Issue: 1, Page: 15-29

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John J. Schultz
SAGE Publications
Medicine; Psychology; Social Sciences; homicide; forensic archaeology; death scene; ground-penetrating radar; (GPR); GEOPHYSICAL SURVEYS; EXAMPLE; SEARCH; Criminology & Penology
article description
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has become an important forensic archaeology tool used by law enforcement agencies to search for buried bodies of homicide victims. However, these agencies most often secure outside consultants to perform searches because of equipment expense and the specialized training required to operate the equipment and interpret results. This article provides a thorough discussion of GPR methodology and implementation of this technology by law enforcement agencies for clandestine body searches. The discussion provides investigators with basic knowledge of the GPR process, enabling an understanding of how the equipment is used to search for buried bodies and how investigators can secure the services of a properly trained GPR operator. Benefits of forming forensic archaeology partnerships between law enforcement agencies and academic forensic practitioners to secure GPR equipment are also discussed, with the recently established partnership between the University of Central Florida and the Orange County Sheriff's Office as an example. © 2007 Sage Publications.