Investigators come to East Tennessee for hands-on crime scene course

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Detectives from across the country are visiting Knoxville this week to take part in an outdoor recovery course at UT’s Anthropology Research Facility, better known as the “Body Farm.”

It’s a five day hands-on course where students learn tools to take back to their job, which can ultimately help reduce the chances of making a mistake on a crime scene.Previous story: Investigators coming to Body Farm for hands-on course

“It’s not every day that you can go and actually watch the various stages of human decomposition,” said Detective Gary Meier with the Peachtree City Police Department in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Students are broadening their outdoor crime scene skills.

“We talk about fingerprinting from decomposed remains, we talk about decomposition, scavenging, soil, entomology, odontology and forensic anthropology,” said Giovanna Vidoli Assistant Director at the UT Anthropology Center.

Professionals are teaching investigators how to collect evidence the right way.

“And then use a series of equations to calculate how old that fly is and by how old that fly is we know roughly how long that body has been there,” said Clayton Nolting with the Columbus Indiana Police Department, who is an instructor as well this week.

Each lesson is a tool to better identify a body and pinpoint when they died. Detective Meier says this course will help not just him on the job, but the families wrapped up in each case.

“Oh, I would absolutely say it’s beneficial and a unique experience,” he said.

Courses like this one have been a resource at the “Body Farm” since 2006 for professionals in the medical, legal, and law enforcement fields. People who have donated their bodies to the facility come from 33 different states and two countries.

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