Author Topic: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body  (Read 34695 times)

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Offline pathfinder73

Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« on: January 07, 2015, 10:41:37 AM »
On the Reliability of Cadaver dogs

Dogs trained to detect the smell of human cadaverine are now routinely used throughout the world.  We examine some of the leading cases.

From the outset it is important to note that a dog cannot give “evidence“ in a criminal trial. In most jurisdictions evidence has to be subject to examination and cross examination by learned counsel, and this is clearly impossible.  On many occasions the alert by the dog will result in the discovery of remains and it will be that which becomes the primary evidence. The fact that the dog indicated where to look becomes a side issue, of no particular legal importance.

Here we look at some occasions when the dog alerts, but no significant physical evidence can be found at the time.   The best that can be achieved in these circumstances is that the handler of the animal gives evidence of the dog’s reactions, often with video confirmation, and can then be cross examined on his interpretation of the animal’s behaviour.

(I shall refer to the cases by the name of the deceased or missing person, rather than by the Trial reference, because of the ways in which these differ across jurisdictions)

1 The case with a legal significance may not yet have been fully appreciated, is that of Jeanette Zapata. in Dane Country, USA.   In 1976 she served her husband Eugene Zapata with divorce papers.  She went missing shortly afterwards.  29 years later dogs alerted in the basement of the family home, and in several other places where the family had lived over the intervening time.   At trial his lawyer persuaded the judge that the dog’s finding could not be admitted, since the places in which they had alerted indicated that he had carried the body round to everywhere he had lived, and it was suggested that this was preposterous.   The jury failed to reach a verdict.    Before his retrial however, he confessed, and crucially confirmed that he had in fact transported the body round before disposing of it.    The dogs had been absolutely accurate.   No body has been found. 

2 The recent case of  Bianca Jones, a 2 year old girl murdered by her father D’Andre Lane in Detroit USA, with the added details of an alleged abduction, was an occasion when Mr Martin Grime, a British retired police officer, was working for the FBI.  His evidence of the alerts by his dog was admitted to show that Bianca was dead whilst in the back of the car, and not taken by armed men as was being alleged. Lane was convicted, though no body has been found.

3 The trial of Adrian Prout, in 2010, for the murder of Kate Prout, his wife, in the UK, was notable again for a verdict of guilty, despite no body having been found. Dogs had indicted the presence of a body in the house, but nothing had been found.  Some time after his conviction Prout confessed, and indicted the location of the body, confirming that the dogs had been absolutely accurate in their findings.

4 In the murder of Susan Pilley in Edinburgh, by her colleague David Gilroy, in 2010, the court heard that the dogs had alerted in the office basement garage and in two areas of the boot of Gilroy’s car, even though this had been cleaned recently with fluid or air freshener.  The defence failed to convince the jury that the absence of physical evidence entitled his client to acquittal.  He was convicted.   No body has been found.

5 Cori Baker from Oklahoma was murdered by her sister’s boyfriend Marquis Bulloch, in 2007. He changed his story several times whilst being investigated, and the dogs, partly funded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, were brought into search a large area after a skull had been found.  They alerted in several places.  No other physical evidence was discovered.  He was convicted

6 The case of  Guadeloupe Montano from Kane County, USA, is now complete. It is alleged that she was murdered by her husband Aurelio Montano in 1990.  It may be the first time that the dog’s alerts have been used as evidence in that State.  They indicate that the body lay in one position and was then moved to another. The trial took place in October 2013.   No body has been found.   He was convicted

7 The case of Amir Jennings, allegedly killed by her mother Zinah Jennings in 2011, involves a mother who reported her son missing.   Dogs searched the house and the car, and human blood was then found. No body has been found. Zinah Jennings was convicted on a charge of unlawful conduct toward a child, and sentenced to 10 years

8 The trial of Albert Fine, the partner of Catherine Hoholski, from Lorain USA, is  pending.  In this case the body was found within 60 seconds of the dog being deployed, and it was then used to identify other locations relevant to the prosecution case.  He faces the death penalty if convicted.

9 The alleged abduction of Isabel Mercedes Celis has been called into question by the findings of two dogs, one a cadaver dog, in the family home.  The findings were said to be “significant”,  the house is being treated as a crime scene and the matter is still under investigation.   No body has been found.

10 The disappearance of 6 year old Etan Patz in New York 33 years ago, has already shown the almost unbelievable feats of which cadaver dogs are capable. In this case pads of absorbent material were left for a time on the concrete floor of the basement and then presented to the dogs for testing.  As a result the concrete floor  was then ripped up. The handler Englebert said.  "We as human beings never lose our scent. If [a body] had been there for a while, that scent would still be there," she said, indicating that even if investigators do not find remains in the basement, it is possible human remains may have once been there before being moved.”  The trial of Pedro Hernandez, who has admitted kidnapping and murder, is pending.  No body has been found.

11 The parents of Lisa Irwin, from Kansas City, also allege that she must have been abducted in the middle of the night.  The mother told Police she did not search, “because she was afraid of what she might find”.    Disturbed earth was found behind the house, and the dog alerted in the parent’s bedroom.  As a result a full search warrant was granted, and the police say they want to talk to the parents Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, one to one.

12 The cold case of 14 year old Melanie Melanson, from Massachusetts USA, who disappeared 20 years ago, has been given fresh impetus through the findings of a cadaver dog which alerted in an area targeted following a tip off to Police.

13 Another mother, Shakara Dickens, of Memphis USA, reported in 2010 that she had given up her daughter Lauryn Dickens for adoption, but the various stories turned out to be false. A dog identified cadaver odour in the house and in the boot of the car, and despite defence arguments, she was found guilty of Murder.  No body has been found.

14 The infamous case of Caylee Anthony, whose mother Casey Anthony was accused of murdering her in Orlando USA, in 2011, was also notable in that the evidence of the cadaver dog handler was admitted, even though the body was found later at a different location.  The dog alerted in the boot of the car, and it was alleged that the mother had then dumped the body.  The evidence was highly detailed, with full description of the system of ‘final trained alert’ by the dog showing an exact position, distinguished from a more general interest.   In the event  Anthony was not found guilty of the murder, but was convicted of several lesser offences.  There are moves to have the case reopened at Federal level.

15 In the UK, the case of Kirsi Gifford-Hull, in Winchester in 2005, is of interest since although the body was discovered by a man walking a dog, and the offender Mike Gifford-Hull had made a public appeal at a press conference for his wife to return, cadaver dogs had already alerted some weeks earlier in the house and in his car during the initial search for a “missing person”.   After the trial he told officers that when he saw the dogs alerting in the car he had contemplated making a full admission.  He was convicted.    After the trial  Judge Guy Boney QC ”. . .added that the police inquiry was so superior it could be matched with that of any other police force in the world.”

http://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t9051p860-why-operation-grange-can-only-be-a-whitewash
Smithman carrying a child in his arms checked his watch after passing the Smith family and the time was 10:03. Both are still unidentified 10 years later.

Offline pathfinder73

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 10:55:15 AM »
13 Another mother, Shakara Dickens, of Memphis USA, reported in 2010 that she had given up her daughter Lauryn Dickens for adoption, but the various stories turned out to be false. A dog identified cadaver odour in the house and in the boot of the car, and despite defence arguments, she was found guilty of Murder.  No body has been found.

Back in March Dickens was convicted of Lauryn’s murder. This past week at her sentencing hearing she admitted to every detail.

She said that she was frustrated that she couldn’t find a baby sitter and started crying. Then Lauryn started crying. Instead of comforting her which is what most normal mothers do she put her hand over Lauryn’s nose and mouth until she passed out. She removed her hand and Lauryn started crying again and Dickens continued to suffocate her.

When Lauryn was dead Dickens put her body in a trash bag and threw it in a dumpster two apartment complexes away. She didn’t go back to the dumpster but watched as the dumpster was emptied.

http://trenchreynolds.com/tag/shakara-dickens/
Smithman carrying a child in his arms checked his watch after passing the Smith family and the time was 10:03. Both are still unidentified 10 years later.

Offline Wonderfulspam

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 10:58:01 AM »
13 Another mother, Shakara Dickens, of Memphis USA, reported in 2010 that she had given up her daughter Lauryn Dickens for adoption, but the various stories turned out to be false. A dog identified cadaver odour in the house and in the boot of the car, and despite defence arguments, she was found guilty of Murder.  No body has been found.

Back in March Dickens was convicted of Lauryn’s murder. This past week at her sentencing hearing she admitted to every detail.

She said that she was frustrated that she couldn’t find a baby sitter and started crying. Then Lauryn started crying. Instead of comforting her which is what most normal mothers do she put her hand over Lauryn’s nose and mouth until she passed out. She removed her hand and Lauryn started crying again and Dickens continued to suffocate her.

When Lauryn was dead Dickens put her body in a trash bag and threw it in a dumpster two apartment complexes away. She didn’t go back to the dumpster but watched as the dumpster was emptied.

http://trenchreynolds.com/tag/shakara-dickens/

Ta Da!

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 11:00:13 AM »
13 Another mother, Shakara Dickens, of Memphis USA, reported in 2010 that she had given up her daughter Lauryn Dickens for adoption, but the various stories turned out to be false. A dog identified cadaver odour in the house and in the boot of the car, and despite defence arguments, she was found guilty of Murder.  No body has been found.

Back in March Dickens was convicted of Lauryn’s murder. This past week at her sentencing hearing she admitted to every detail.

She said that she was frustrated that she couldn’t find a baby sitter and started crying. Then Lauryn started crying. Instead of comforting her which is what most normal mothers do she put her hand over Lauryn’s nose and mouth until she passed out. She removed her hand and Lauryn started crying again and Dickens continued to suffocate her.

When Lauryn was dead Dickens put her body in a trash bag and threw it in a dumpster two apartment complexes away. She didn’t go back to the dumpster but watched as the dumpster was emptied.

http://trenchreynolds.com/tag/shakara-dickens/

Very interesting thread PF. Thank you for starting it.
Moral Guilt
Detractors of the work of our British Police in bringing criminals to justice generally ignore the important distinction between moral proof and legal evidence of guilt. In not a few cases that are popularly classed with 'unsolved mysteries of crime,' the offender is known, but evidence is wanting. If, for example, in- a recent murder case of special notoriety and interest,* certain human remains had not been found in a cellar, a great crime would have been catalogued among `Police failures'; and yet, even without the evidence which sent the murderer to the gallows, the moral proof of his guilt would have been full and clear.
Robert Anderson

Offline John

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 11:04:04 AM »
There is no doubt that Victim Recovery and CSI dogs are an amazing investigative tool available to police in cases of suspected homicide.  The ultimate frustration for handlers however must be when their dogs alert and CSI fail to find any corroborating evidence.
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed. John Lamberton exposes malfeasance by public officials.
Check out my website >   http://johnlamberton.webs.com/index.htm?no_redirect=true     The truth never changes with the passage of time.

Offline Anna

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 11:14:54 AM »
13 Another mother, Shakara Dickens, of Memphis USA, reported in 2010 that she had given up her daughter Lauryn Dickens for adoption, but the various stories turned out to be false. A dog identified cadaver odour in the house and in the boot of the car, and despite defence arguments, she was found guilty of Murder.  No body has been found.

Back in March Dickens was convicted of Lauryn’s murder. This past week at her sentencing hearing she admitted to every detail.

She said that she was frustrated that she couldn’t find a baby sitter and started crying. Then Lauryn started crying. Instead of comforting her which is what most normal mothers do she put her hand over Lauryn’s nose and mouth until she passed out. She removed her hand and Lauryn started crying again and Dickens continued to suffocate her.

When Lauryn was dead Dickens put her body in a trash bag and threw it in a dumpster two apartment complexes away. She didn’t go back to the dumpster but watched as the dumpster was emptied.

http://trenchreynolds.com/tag/shakara-dickens/

How can a mother, do such a thing? Terrible to say the least.
“You should not honour men more than truth.”
― Plato

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 11:18:06 AM »
How can a mother, do such a thing? Terrible to say the least.


Indeed Anna. It does however show how convenient a method for disposal of a body a municipal bin is.
Moral Guilt
Detractors of the work of our British Police in bringing criminals to justice generally ignore the important distinction between moral proof and legal evidence of guilt. In not a few cases that are popularly classed with 'unsolved mysteries of crime,' the offender is known, but evidence is wanting. If, for example, in- a recent murder case of special notoriety and interest,* certain human remains had not been found in a cellar, a great crime would have been catalogued among `Police failures'; and yet, even without the evidence which sent the murderer to the gallows, the moral proof of his guilt would have been full and clear.
Robert Anderson

Offline Anna

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 11:22:38 AM »


Indeed Anna. It does however show how convenient a method for disposal of a body a municipal bin is.

Awful to even think about, Faith, but I suppose a 9 month old baby would be easily concealed in one of those big dumpsters. 8(8-))
“You should not honour men more than truth.”
― Plato

Offline John

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 11:47:35 AM »
Two Scottish cases in which cadaver dogs were used without success...

The disappearance of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew (3) in 1976.  No sign of them has ever been found and nobody has faced prosecution for her murder despite compelling evidence of involvement. Read more...

The disappearance of Arlene Fraser in 1998 which saw her estranged husband Nat Fraser twice convicted of murder in 2003 and 2012.  Her remains have never been found.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 11:58:03 AM by John »
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed. John Lamberton exposes malfeasance by public officials.
Check out my website >   http://johnlamberton.webs.com/index.htm?no_redirect=true     The truth never changes with the passage of time.

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 11:52:40 AM »
Two Scottish cases in which cadaver dogs were used without success...

The disappearance of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew (3) in 1976.  No sign of them has ever been found and nobody has faced prosecution.

The disappearance of Arlene Fraser in 1998 which saw her estranged husband Nat Fraser convicted twice of murder in trials in 2003 and 2012.  Her remains have never been found.

Neither have ever turned up and I believe individuals were convicted of murder in both cases. So hardly 'without success' John.
Moral Guilt
Detractors of the work of our British Police in bringing criminals to justice generally ignore the important distinction between moral proof and legal evidence of guilt. In not a few cases that are popularly classed with 'unsolved mysteries of crime,' the offender is known, but evidence is wanting. If, for example, in- a recent murder case of special notoriety and interest,* certain human remains had not been found in a cellar, a great crime would have been catalogued among `Police failures'; and yet, even without the evidence which sent the murderer to the gallows, the moral proof of his guilt would have been full and clear.
Robert Anderson

Alfred R Jones

  • Guest
Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 11:58:53 AM »
Renee McRae's murderer has never been apprehended.

Offline John

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 12:03:58 PM »
Neither have ever turned up and I believe individuals were convicted of murder in both cases. So hardly 'without success' John.

Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the murder of Renee MacRae although her lover was charged in 1990 with dishonesty and forgery involving sums totalling £240,000.

Cadaver dogs failed to discover any trace of the victims.
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed. John Lamberton exposes malfeasance by public officials.
Check out my website >   http://johnlamberton.webs.com/index.htm?no_redirect=true     The truth never changes with the passage of time.

Offline Wonderfulspam

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2015, 12:05:10 PM »
Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the murder of Renee MacRae although her lover was charged in 1990 with dishonesty and forgery involving sums totalling £240,000.

Cadaver dogs failed to discover any trace of the victims.

....28 years later, in a place where they may well never have been, nor did they alert.




'Jean McLennan, a Wick-based sheriff, has written Blood in the Glens, which includes the disappearance of Renee MacRae and her son Andrew, who vanished on November 12, 1976. No trace has ever been found of them.'

'In 2004, retired sergeant John Cathcart spoke on TV about his suspicions that Renee and Andrew had been buried in Dalmagarry Quarry, close to the lay-by.

Local farmer Brian McGregor was among those watching and was troubled.

He visited the quarry with Cathcart and adiviner named Piercy Phillip.

Using his rods, Phillip found what he believed could be a burial site.

McGregor offered to provide an excavator unless Northern Constabulary investigated.

Acold case review started and a massive dig began. It was to cost £112,000.

Aprofessor in forensic anthropology was called in to advise and in five weeks, 1800 trees were felled and victim recovery dogs used.'

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/a-burned-out-car-a-missing-mum-1040736?mobile=false
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 12:16:57 PM by Wonderfulspam »

Alfred R Jones

  • Guest
Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 12:16:08 PM »
How many of the cases listed above were wholly reliant on the dog alerts to secure the conviction? 

A question for dog apologists:  as you all seem to have 100% faith in the dogs, would you be happy if convictions for murder were handed out on the basis of cadaver dog alerts alone?  Remember, dogs don't lie, and can never be wrong so surely it stands to reason if a dog barks in your suspect's house or to his or her property then it's obvious they dunnit, right?

Offline Wonderfulspam

Re: Cadaver Dog Alert Convictions without a body
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2015, 12:19:43 PM »
How many of the cases listed above were wholly reliant on the dog alerts to secure the conviction? 

A question for dog apologists:  as you all seem to have 100% faith in the dogs, would you be happy if convictions for murder were handed out on the basis of cadaver dog alerts alone?  Remember, dogs don't lie, and can never be wrong so surely it stands to reason if a dog barks in your suspect's house or to his or her property then it's obvious they dunnit, right?

When have I said they are never wrong?