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The Scent of a Crime

dog nose

Dogs can be used to detect a range of scents, including drugs, explosives, accelerants, currency, and living and deceased people. Credit: yellowsarah/iStock

By LaTara Rust & Rebecca Buis

Cadaver-detection dogs can’t be trained using human remains. How accurately can the complex scents emitted by decomposing bodies be mimicked when these dogs are trained?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Death can be a confronting topic for most people. Recent catastrophes such as the Malaysia Airlines plane crashes last year have made the fragility of human life abundantly clear, but the personal impacts of death can have lasting effects on the living.

Take a moment to imagine that someone close to you, a loved one, has gone missing. The fear of the unknown can be unbearable and many questions can cross your mind – have they become a victim of foul play? Are they trapped somewhere? Will they ever be seen again? And what were their last moments like?

Returning a loved one to their family brings enormous relief and peace of mind, but recovery of a deceased victim can also help families by assisting the mourning process so that healing can begin.

Answering these questions is also crucial for police and forensic investigators. Recreating a crime scene and the events leading up to it can be particularly ambiguous when the victim is missing or the evidence is not apparent. Locating a victim is a challenging task, especially when searching for victims of crime or disaster whose bodies may be concealed and not easily located.

In order to search for victims, an investigator can call upon a range of tools to assist the search process. One of these is man’s best friend.

Dogs have been used for scent-detection work since the 14th century. They...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.