Crews Conduct Buried Body Training in Matsu Valley

It was an opportunity for detectives, doctors and experts to work together and teach a course on how to approach a crime scene and recover human remains and evidence.

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by Megan Mazurek

It was an opportunity for detectives, doctors and experts to work together and teach a course on how to approach a crime scene and recover human remains and evidence.

Five skeletal remains were buried under rocks, dirt and grass in a field behind Matsu Regional Hospital Tuesday. (7/24) Another set of skeleton remains were scattered in a grassy field to teach the class how to search and collect what experts call a 'surface scene'.

"Most commonly is what you call surface recovery surface scene where a body is dumped or maybe something is put on the body to cover the scene but then the body get scattered in the area," said Dr. Kathy Raven, Chief Medical Examiner.

The team scanned the area and looked for evidence piece by piece placing flags in the ground. A red flag means body fragments were found and an orange flag signifies non-human remains. Other sets of teams were responsible for finding a grave site and processing it like a crime scene.

"It's important to take the body out in tact to look at the position and how the body was placed in there to make sure we don't cover up and miss anything that might help to determine what the cause of death is," Dr. Raven said.

Those clearing a gravesite are careful not to miss and evidence like fingernails or items of interest. In one of the graves the weapon of interest may be a knife, but the team is careful not to jump to any conclusions.

"The question still stands did that person get stabbed and then buried or were they dead and then got stabbed and then buried were they were they moved here you know what's the process of events.," said Brianna Nye, physicians assistant student.

The teams' steps are methodical and precise and nothing is overlooked. Participants carefully sift through the dirt and items of interest are photographed and placed into a bag.

Dr. Raven says the class was able to process five graves in a couple of hours, but in a real-life situation that amount of processing would usually take a couple of days.

Video Editing Courtesy: Matty Alkire.

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