Cadaver dogs may find more remains, experts say

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Cadaver dogs could end up sniffing out more body parts at the Florida park where Brian Laundrie’s suspected remains were discovered, a search-and-rescue expert told The Post.

Michael Hadsell, president of the Peace River K9 Search and Rescue, said the dogs initially could not pick up any scent of decaying remains because parts of the reserve were still under several feet of water.

“The problem is people don’t understand that dogs are not body finders, they are odor hunters,” Hadsell, who wasn’t involved in the search for Laundrie but has assisted in searches at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, said.

“They chase the odor of human remains, and the problem is that there are times when odor is not making the best presentation,” he continued.

“In this case, the search conditions that they were in initially were really bad, so the probability was more in the 20 percent success rate because there was water in that area.”

But now that the area is dry and there is some breeze, Hadsell said it makes for “good sense cones” that “dogs can detect.”

Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Human remains were discovered at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida.
Chris O’Meara/AP

The FBI announced Wednesday that human remains were found at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, although authorities are yet to confirm they are Laundrie’s remains.

Items belonging to Gabby Petito’s boyfriend were also found, including a backpack and notebook, the FBI said.

“These items were found in an area that up until recently have been underwater,” Michael McPherson, agent-in-charge of the FBI Tampa field office, said at a press conference at the scene.

Brian Laundrie.
Authorities have not confirmed whether the remains are that of Brian Laundrie.
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“Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area. It’s likely the team will be on scene for several days,” he added.

Hadsell, who has more than 20 years of experience in assisting in K9 search-and-rescue missions, said that even though the waters have receded, there are other still factors that could provide challenges.

“This is Florida, so there are a lot of critters out there that want to come out and eat you,” he said.

Police dogs during search.
The dogs initially could not pick up any scent of decaying remains because parts of the reserve were still under several feet of water.
WFTS

“A lot of these remains found in these wilderness areas are what we call ‘scattered remains’ because the critters have grabbed pieces of the body and have dragged them off. And that’s what we spend a lot of time searching — the other parts.”

“If they don’t find all of the remains, they will probably wait until it completely dries out and they will be back to search for it again.”

Hadsell said he has worked on cases where a cadaver dog detected a scent, but the remains were found about a mile away.

Police search.
Search crews are likely to wait until the area dries out and return to search for further remains.
WFTS

“When animals come through there and they’re looking for something to eat, they see the body and that’s an easy meal,” he said. “Oftentimes, these critters just grab a piece and walk off with it.”

He noted that authorities put up tables and tents at the reserve shortly after finding the remains to begin identifying the parts.

“They put out a chart of the human skeleton, which serves like a map,” he said. “Every time a bone comes in, they will identify it with that chart, and slowly they will be able to put the pieces together.”

Tent.
Authorities put up tables and tents at the reserve shortly after finding the remains to begin identifying the parts.
WFTS

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