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  1. #1
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    Dec 2005
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    Explain to me the "cadaver" scent thing

    Can someone please explain this concept to me? Now, I know that physiologic changes in a body (breakdown, decomposition) can make the "cadavar" scent, but I don't understand how if Maddie was killed in the room and immediately moved from the room, how could the dog immediately alert on a "cadavar" scent? Are they basically saying she was kept in the room for some time dead?
    Am I missing something? Fill in some gaps for me? Am I a retard?

  2. #2
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    I need it explained very slowly to me aswell

  3. #3
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    I think that's what they are saying, yes. That it takes 2 hours before the cadaver scent appears. So, they are saying that she had to have been dead in the room for 2+ hours before being moved.
    I can't complain but sometimes I still do. Life's been good to me so far. - Joe Walsh

  4. #4
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    Apr 2004
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    I posted a link regarding the same. Most cadaver dogs can pick up a scent at 2 hours some a little before. It takes a while for the scent to develop as well as decomposition to occur. So, if the dogs were able to scent it stands to reason that there was a body in the apartment for 2 hours before it was removed.

    With that said, if the rental car had the same scenting 3 weeks later and it was on Kate's clothes, the car key, the cuddle cat and elsewhere then a body had to be in the rental car. Again, that indicates the remains were moved.

  5. #5
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    Thankyou Girls ,you explained it well.

  6. #6
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    Different dogs are trained to scent on different things. Some dogs track live persons, so they are trained to follow certain living scents. Others are trained specifically to locate dead people (some even trained to locate bodies in water) where the biological gases and chemicals given off as a body decomposes, overwhelm or mix with the scent of a living person. The cadaver dogs are more specifically trained to pick up the chemicals of a decomposing body, as opposed to the unique scent of a living person.

    If a cadaver dog alerts, it has found the presence of a dead body. It doesn't specifically denote which person, unlike the dogs that search for living people, which will only alert for the scent they've been offered via personal items of the missing person.

    I have been looking and looking at information on cadaver dogs and I can't find the speficif reference that it has to be at least two hours for a body to be dead before a dog will alert. So I haven't been able to confirm if it is a scientific issue, that the body just does not issue enough chemicals until about two hours have passed (knowing that body immediately begins to decompose once life ceases) for a dog to detect, OR if it is more a case of the average dog does not alert reliably enough times until the body has, on average, been deceased at least two hours.

    That would be a significant fact either way because it would change a possible time line. If a really good dog can alert sooner, it would narrow the amount of time a body would have be deceased. If it is more a chemical/mathemical kind of situation for the dog to detect, then the two hour timeframe is more certain.

    I'm going to keep looking.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texana View Post
    Different dogs are trained to scent on different things. Some dogs track live persons, so they are trained to follow certain living scents. Others are trained specifically to locate dead people (some even trained to locate bodies in water) where the biological gases and chemicals given off as a body decomposes, overwhelm or mix with the scent of a living person. The cadaver dogs are more specifically trained to pick up the chemicals of a decomposing body, as opposed to the unique scent of a living person.

    If a cadaver dog alerts, it has found the presence of a dead body. It doesn't specifically denote which person, unlike the dogs that search for living people, which will only alert for the scent they've been offered via personal items of the missing person.

    I have been looking and looking at information on cadaver dogs and I can't find the speficif reference that it has to be at least two hours for a body to be dead before a dog will alert. So I haven't been able to confirm if it is a scientific issue, that the body just does not issue enough chemicals until about two hours have passed (knowing that body immediately begins to decompose once life ceases) for a dog to detect, OR if it is more a case of the average dog does not alert reliably enough times until the body has, on average, been deceased at least two hours.

    That would be a significant fact either way because it would change a possible time line. If a really good dog can alert sooner, it would narrow the amount of time a body would have be deceased. If it is more a chemical/mathemical kind of situation for the dog to detect, then the two hour timeframe is more certain.

    I'm going to keep looking.
    Here is a trial done where they talk about the time frame.

    http://www.csst.org/cadaver_scent.html

  8. #8
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    Jun 2007
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    Sorry folks, I just realized that this thread was here. I opened a special thread specifically about the dogs. Hope I don't confuse you all....

  9. #9
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    Feb 2004
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    From what I've read, one of the universities in Tennessee has something called The Body Farm in which cadavers in various stages of decomp and from different manners of death are studied. This is where the training of cadaver dogs began. Scientists are trying to isolate the different scents picked up by the dogs and turn them into chemical compositions so that they can be created in laboratories. Once that is accomplished, it will be possible to train the dogs using synthetic scents and much less expensive.

  10. #10
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    Thanks CP! That was perfect!

    So, according to that article, where the dogs' response was tested: while a really, really good dog might scent as soon as an hour and a half--all dogs responded within the 2.5-3 hour range.


  11. #11
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    Jun 2007
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    Cleveland, Ohio
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    So if she was dead for 2 hours in that room before the body was moved... When did they move her? Before dinner or after dinner but before they reported her missing?
    I can't complain but sometimes I still do. Life's been good to me so far. - Joe Walsh

  12. #12
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    Apr 2007
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    I'm guessing during dinner so Kate would be able to announce They've taken her to those who might not be involved. Just guessing

  13. #13
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    Aug 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texana View Post
    Different dogs are trained to scent on different things. Some dogs track live persons, so they are trained to follow certain living scents. Others are trained specifically to locate dead people (some even trained to locate bodies in water) where the biological gases and chemicals given off as a body decomposes, overwhelm or mix with the scent of a living person. The cadaver dogs are more specifically trained to pick up the chemicals of a decomposing body, as opposed to the unique scent of a living person.

    If a cadaver dog alerts, it has found the presence of a dead body. It doesn't specifically denote which person, unlike the dogs that search for living people, which will only alert for the scent they've been offered via personal items of the missing person.

    I have been looking and looking at information on cadaver dogs and I can't find the speficif reference that it has to be at least two hours for a body to be dead before a dog will alert. So I haven't been able to confirm if it is a scientific issue, that the body just does not issue enough chemicals until about two hours have passed (knowing that body immediately begins to decompose once life ceases) for a dog to detect, OR if it is more a case of the average dog does not alert reliably enough times until the body has, on average, been deceased at least two hours.

    That would be a significant fact either way because it would change a possible time line. If a really good dog can alert sooner, it would narrow the amount of time a body would have be deceased. If it is more a chemical/mathemical kind of situation for the dog to detect, then the two hour timeframe is more certain.

    I'm going to keep looking.
    Useful stuff. I've been trying to find out more about cadaver dog capability too, but from a slightly different angle (ie I am sitting on the fence and want to look at other possible explanations for the dogs alerting - if indeed they did as none of this reporting has been confirmed.)

    What I would like to know is how long after a person has been in contact with a dead body would the dog still alert? ie if you had been in contact with a person dead for over 2 hours three months earlier, would the dog still pick up the scent?

    Also I wasn't aware that the dogs scented on a personal belonging of the deceased. I think it is simply alerting on the decomposing of the body, any body.

    The stuff I've read also suggests the best trained dogs can alert after a person had been dead for 1.5 hours (and the Brit dogs are supposed to be the best trained in the world). But 2 hours + is the norm for most cadaver dogs.

  14. #14
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    That's a good question about how long the cadaver scent would remain. I think it would have to do with how many chemical processes the item went through (water, soap, heat) and how strongly those processes were, plus time.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2004
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    Here is another article about dogs and their different training. Scroll down to the Residual Scent area and it is helpful but not exactly what the question posed was about.

    http://www.csst.org/forensic_evidence_canines.html

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