1380 users online (308 members and 1072 guests)  


The Killing Season - Websleuths

Websleuths News


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3,873

    Lightbulb Experienced Searchers Educate Us: Do's & Dont's of Recovery Searching

    I thought it would be interesting to get an education from some of the more experienced recovery searchers here...some seasoned vets.

    I'd really like to hear some detailed lessons of experience. What to do & not do when searching.

    For example, during a search you locate a black plastic bag and odor. You want to preserve the discovery area for evidence, but, you don't want to raise false alarms. Do you cut open the bag w/ latex gloves on? This would allow any flies to escape, hence, losing valuable forensic evidence. Simple details like this would be interesting, IMHO.

    Obviously, I haven't spent much time watching CSI shows, but, I'm betting the real stories WS can relay would be a much more meaningful & helpful education.

    Sooooo....let's hear it.

    And if you don't mind...please open your post with something to explain what your experience/background in searching might be (e.g. volunteer/professional, # years in searching, ever involved in finds, cadaver-dog use, etc.)

    TIA!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Around here somewhere
    Posts
    12,690
    From what I have been taught, if you were to find a black plastic bag issuing a suspicious odor, you don't cut it open regardless of what you are wearing. In fact, once you discover a burial site of any type you stop when you realize that it is in fact a burial site. No further digging, no taking anything out of the hole, you just call LE and wait.
    There was a search here, years ago. We discovered an obvious grave site in the woods, heavily sidturbed ground, all mounded up in top of something. About a dozen searchers, vets some of them, lost their heads, fell to their knees and just started digging barehanded. Needless to say, when Kim and Candace, our team leaders, showed up, they were blasted a new one. There is a fine line between discovering and potentially destroying evidence.

    ETA: 12 years searching, volunteer, searched with private parties, FBI and Local LE. Have been involved in 1 find, thankfully only one, and never used dogs although I have co owned/sponsored a multipuropse search/rescue dog. (RIP Max E. Pad.)
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    STEELER COUNTRY!
    Posts
    27,152
    Quote Originally Posted by not_my_kids View Post
    From what I have been taught, if you were to find a black plastic bag issuing a suspicious odor, you don't cut it open regardless of what you are wearing. In fact, once you discover a burial site of any type you stop when you realize that it is in fact a burial site. No further digging, no taking anything out of the hole, you just call LE and wait.
    There was a search here, years ago. We discovered an obvious grave site in the woods, heavily sidturbed ground, all mounded up in top of something. About a dozen searchers, vets some of them, lost their heads, fell to their knees and just started digging barehanded. Needless to say, when Kim and Candace, our team leaders, showed up, they were blasted a new one. There is a fine line between discovering and potentially destroying evidence.

    ETA: 12 years searching, volunteer, searched with private parties, FBI and Local LE. Have been involved in 1 find, thankfully only one, and never used dogs although I have co owned/sponsored a multipuropse search/rescue dog. (RIP Max E. Pad.)
    very good info esp if you are out searching on your own.

  4. #4
    EmMomma's Avatar
    EmMomma is offline Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,980
    Here's a great link a fellow WS-er posted a little while back. My trip to Orlando was my first time searching, but I plan to learn as much as I can (I feel like I learned A LOT in my 2 days of searching) so that I can participate in the future.
    Note: the "reference" section of this site has some really interesting information.
    http://www.sarti.us/sarti/index.php
    "Lost is not alone..." T. Miller, Founder TES (and MY HERO!!!)

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will." -

    Edward Everett Hale

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    739
    ~snipped
    Quote Originally Posted by not_my_kids View Post
    ETA: 12 years searching, volunteer, searched with private parties, FBI and Local LE. Have been involved in 1 find, thankfully only one, and never used dogs although I have co owned/sponsored a multipuropse search/rescue dog. (RIP Max E. Pad.)
    O/T- the name of the dog made me laugh!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Around here somewhere
    Posts
    12,690
    Quote Originally Posted by cocowiley View Post
    ~snipped


    O/T- the name of the dog made me laugh!
    Thanks, we decided if he was gonna have a serious job, he shouldn't have to have a serious name too.
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Adirondack Mountains
    Posts
    4,334
    ETA: 11 years volunteer firefighting, searched with private parties, Sheriff and Local LE. Have been involved in several searches, found evidence, used dogs (cadaver) & search/rescue.

    Stay focused, do not talk during search. Any bag with an odor even if half buried, you can determine the smell just by getting close to it. If it's suspicious, you call and wait for LE. They will do the rest. You do not dig! They will bring the dog and decide whether or not to dig.

    If looking for a grave, you take notice of any soil that is depressed in the area with no vegetation growing around it. Once soil is returned to a grave, it settles more easily than any of the soil around it. Also, vegetation make take on a very different color or look more like moss. Just a couple of things you would look for.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3,873
    Quote Originally Posted by EmMomma View Post
    Here's a great link a fellow WS-er posted a little while back. My trip to Orlando was my first time searching, but I plan to learn as much as I can (I feel like I learned A LOT in my 2 days of searching) so that I can participate in the future.
    Note: the "reference" section of this site has some really interesting information.
    http://www.sarti.us/sarti/index.php
    Thanks for the link, EmMomma! An incredible amount of relevant information there.

    I found the section entitled, "Movement of a Body by Human Intervention:" on page 21 of the following particularly interesting and relevant to this case: http://www.sarti.us/sarti/files/Sear...manRemains.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,862
    I come from a family filled with LE & one uncle who is an FBI agent. I work in the medical field, have had to take lots of A&P.

    The search I did with TES was my first search. Because our search was small, just a core group from Tx & a core group from Orlando, my family & the relatives of the missing, I felt we got out standing teaching from Odie, Tim, John, Todd & others.

    We were in the woods & had a lot of leaf cover. They taught us to very gently brush aside the leaves so we would not move any bones or other items with the leaves. We ran across a lot of mounds. We marked them & called for Tim, Odie, John or Todd to come ck the mounds. They did so by poking with a search stick or even a way longer thing that sort of looks like a pitch fork but is used for searching......it will go way deep. The purpose of that is to tell if the ground is somewhat soft, if you hit something hard or if you hit more like tree roots. They also showed us how looking for an animal hole, like a racoon hole could tell you a lot about a mound. When we found mounds created by large tree roots they showed us how that sounded, harder than the dirt, but also kind of hollow sounding.

    We came across bunches & bunches of garbage bags. The first mound or garage bag you see in woods you are thinking "oh my God, oh my God."

    We were taught to pick NOTHING & I mean NOTHING up as it could be a crime scene.

    We were taught to do a line search vs we need everyone in a certain area to walk the entire area. In the woods you can't do a line search, in the cotton field you can.

    We were taught how to search some abandoned homes & old tobacco or farm sheds. We were taught to get the owners permission before searching their property.

    We were taught how to mark our way out of the woods by breaking twigs. We had no cell reception so this was important to be able to not only find your way out, but to help a team lead find their way in to look at something you marked. It would also help someone locate YOU if you were hurt...lots of steep hills that lead to the bottom of ravines. We were taught to make a lot of noise & talk b/c of the illegal deer hunters. We were taught to rely on the sound of a whistle for communication. It either meant come out & re group or it meant for all searchers to converge on an area.

    I learned a lot of things. If anyone is interested in learning, I think a small search is a great way as it enables the experts to really really spend some quality time teaching. In a small search they have to teach you really well because you don't have the sheer number of eyeballs out their helping. On the other hand, I know those on the larger search in Orlando was also taught well.

    My husband & I came away very confident with the knowledge we gained & feel prepared to do another search.

    BTW, TES also has classes in Texas from time to time. I know there is one coming up. I would like to go to one when I return from Europe.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,862
    Quote Originally Posted by EmMomma View Post
    Here's a great link a fellow WS-er posted a little while back. My trip to Orlando was my first time searching, but I plan to learn as much as I can (I feel like I learned A LOT in my 2 days of searching) so that I can participate in the future.
    Note: the "reference" section of this site has some really interesting information.
    http://www.sarti.us/sarti/index.php
    Great read, thank you. I had not seen that before.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Around here somewhere
    Posts
    12,690
    Oh, forgot to mention, there have been times when each group has had a walkie talkie or radio and on just about every search, we have been taught to be very careful with what we say over those radios, as you never know who might be listening. There have been some searches that have been very relaxed and the searchers are included in the planning for the remainder of the search and then there have been some where no one even knows where they are going until they get to the command center that morning.
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,862
    And you are taught NOT to call 911 b/c the media will probably get there before LE if ya do.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    3,873
    I continue to be thoroughly impressed w/ the cummulative knowledge & experience of the folks here on WS....thanks for sharing all...exactly what I was looking for!

    Also - EmMomma, that SARTI resources is terrific. I buried a pet in October and posted here w/ some info about the process (http://websleuths.com/forums/showpos...&postcount=445). Something I noted recently, even after over a month has elapsed, is the obvious difference in color of the soil around the perimeter of the grave as discussed in the SARTI resource document I linked above.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Around here somewhere
    Posts
    12,690
    And NEVER to spit or, gross as it sounds, change a tampon or pad on a search as it could contaminate DNA evidence. It sounds like a well duh type of thing, but you would be amazed how many people think its okay to just spit or toss a cigarette butt while they are searching. There was one where we were asked how strong our stomachs were, so they knew whether we might throw up on a crime scene.
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.

  15. #15
    EmMomma's Avatar
    EmMomma is offline Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,980
    Quote Originally Posted by BondJamesBond View Post
    I continue to be thoroughly impressed w/ the cummulative knowledge & experience of the folks here on WS....thanks for sharing all...exactly what I was looking for!

    Also - EmMomma, that SARTI resources is terrific. I buried a pet in October and posted here w/ some info about the process (http://websleuths.com/forums/showpos...&postcount=445). Something I noted recently, even after over a month has elapsed, is the obvious difference in color of the soil around the perimeter of the grave as discussed in the SARTI resource document I linked above.
    I love that site! I read there whenever I have a few minutes here and there. Very interesting info there, for sure!
    One of the things that they told us to look for (in the case of a clandestine grave) was also mentioned on the SARTI site, which is greenery that is "greener" and appears to be newer growth than what is around it. It makes perfect sense, but not something I would automatically think to look for.
    I feel very lucky to have conversed and worked with some of the people I met while in FL, their knowledge and experience was very impressive, and none of them seemed to even realize it.
    I read your thread, too (sorry you lost your beloved pet ). Thank you very much for sharing your experience, there is much information that could apply to Caylee, though after visiting the REAL FL (not Sea World, lol) I have my doubts about how brave she would have been to venture into some of the areas we searched. Certainly, though, their back yard is "tame" enough, so who knows?!
    And THANKS for starting this thread!
    "Lost is not alone..." T. Miller, Founder TES (and MY HERO!!!)

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will." -

    Edward Everett Hale

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast


Similar Threads

  1. SLEUTHERS: how to educate the public on being ALERT and finding more missing people
    By Kimster in forum Amanda Berry- Gina deJesus- Michelle Knight
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 05-12-2013, 06:09 PM
  2. Replies: 179
    Last Post: 09-19-2010, 03:00 PM
  3. Top Marine's reaction to lifting Dont Ask Dont Tell
    By believe09 in forum Up to the Minute
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-27-2010, 01:53 PM