DATE: June 11, 2014
SUBJECT: “Body Farm” Training
CONTACT: Lt. Doug Daza
AUTHORITY: Sheriff David Wedding

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has recently graduated two detectives from an intensive course of training located at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Detectives Jason King and Kirk Kuester attended a week-long Outdoor Recovery Course at the University’s Forensic Anthropology Center. The Center is also known as “The Body Farm” and has been depicted in various novels and television shows.

The course encompasses forensic anthropology and the recovery of human remains in an outdoor setting. Donors who permit the use of their deceased bodies by the Center are placed throughout the property, some of which are buried or partially buried. The effects of decomposition and insect activity are studied so as to better understand what happens to a body after death and over time. Over 100 bodies were present on site during the training and the participants conducted a full forensic investigation and recovery of a body.

The ability to establish a general time of death based in part on the state of decomposition and insect activity present on a body found in an outdoor setting can be critical in a death investigation. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office serves rural areas of the county in addition to more urban areas and has conducted death investigations including murders that have involved victims whose bodies have been dumped outside for varying periods of time before discovery. The Sheriff’s Office believes this training will be invaluable in future investigations.