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Archive for Friday, October 21, 2011

Document: Cadaver dog ‘hit’ at missing baby’s home

October 21, 2011

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— An FBI cadaver dog reacted to the scent of a dead person inside the Kansas City home where a baby girl disappeared nearly three weeks ago, and investigators discovered soil in the backyard that had been “recently disturbed or overturned,” police said in a court document released Friday.

The affidavit, filed earlier this week in support of a search warrant targeting the family’s home, also stated that the girl’s mother, Deborah Bradley, “made the statement she did not initially look for her baby behind the house because she ‘was afraid of what she might find.’”

Those details and others in the affidavit, publicly released for the first time Friday, led to a daylong search Wednesday of the family’s home, where the parents say then-10-month-old Lisa Irwin must have been snatched in the middle of the night as the mother and two other boys slept. Bradley and the baby’s father, Jeremy Irwin, reported the girl missing on Oct. 4 and have denied any role in the disappearance while insisting police have pointed the finger at them.

‘Scent of a deceased human’

The affidavit stated that an FBI cadaver dog taken into the house Monday indicated a “positive ‘hit’ for the scent of a deceased human in an area of the floor of Bradley’s bedroom near the bed.”

The FBI dogs, which often are used at both disaster and crime scenes, are trained “specially to recognize the scent of decaying, decomposing human flesh,” retired FBI special agent Jeff Lanza said Friday.

“That can be the scent of an actual body decomposing, or residual scents after the body is no longer there,” Lanza said.

Dr. Edward David, a deputy chief medical examiner for the state of Maine and co-author of the “Cadaver Dog Handbook,” said that when a body is left in one spot for several hours, cells are left behind. They continue to decompose and create an odor, giving the dog scents to detect.

He said that while trained dogs may fail to detect the smell of human decomposition about 30 percent of the time, they generally don’t alert when nothing is there. One exception is when human waste is present.

Joe Tacopina, a New York lawyer hired by a benefactor he has not identified to represent Bradley and Irwin, said the dog could have detected “a dirty diaper or 10 other non-human-remains items.”

But granting that cadaver dogs are trained chiefly to detect decomposing flesh, “There’s really no scenario where this baby, God forbid she was dead, would have decomposed in that short a period of time,” Tacopina told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday night.

The court document also indicated police felt they needed handheld digging tools after an investigator noticed dirt in a garden area behind the home appeared to have been “recently disturbed or overturned.” During Wednesday’s search, investigators could be seen digging behind a shed in the backyard.

Other revelations

Among other revelations in the affidavit:

• Officers searched all rooms in the house and the basement after being called to the home Oct. 4. Officers sought evidence but because the parents said the baby had been abducted, the only areas extensively processed for DNA and fingerprints were the baby’s bedroom and possible entry points.

• The parents had told police that three cellphones were missing. The affidavit said a phone had since been found in a desk drawer, but that phone wasn’t one of those reported missing. The missing phones haven’t been found.

• Interviews with people involved in the case revealed “conflicting information for clear direction in the investigation.”

Comments

The_Original_Bob 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought only verified users could comment on deaths.

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KansasPerson 2 years, 5 months ago

If it would help at all -- here is a thread of Q&A with two people who work with these dogs.

http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152258

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

Let me get this straight. An unidentified person just happens to drop by to steal a baby? And just happens to know where to find the baby?

I mean anything is possible but the "parents" cannot keep their stories straight. If this mom was that drunk how in the world could she be providing the attention that a young child would need at any given moment? Parents can never predict exactly when those moments will surface.

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kawrivercrow 2 years, 5 months ago

More than likely, the odor of decomposition came from the secreta and excreta on a pair of the mother's panties that had been allowed to 'ferment' on the floor. In medicine, if a test of such significance were positive, we would calculate the odds of a false-positive and either repeat the same test, or run a confirmatory alternative test if available. Why didn't they bring in a second dog and see if it displayed the same findings?

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observant 2 years, 5 months ago

So apparently the parents are convinced they can pull off same crap as that scumbag broad in Florida did?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 5 months ago

The cadever odor can stand on it's own as well. It is not one that a person forgets.

That scent sticks to a body so I discovered while assisting with autopsies. This was interesting however getting to a shower ASAP was sometimes never soon enough.

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bootlegger 2 years, 5 months ago

hummmmmmmmm; there something fishy going on here!!!!

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Rara_Avis 2 years, 5 months ago

I'll go with whatever Nancy Grace says.

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KansasPerson 2 years, 5 months ago

And just my opinion but I believe that KC law enforcement is very close to cracking this case if they haven't done so already. After Wednesday's search they removed several items from the house and they attempted to block the publication of the results, but someone, citing the Sunshine Law, was able to get it released. I am not in law enforcement but that suggests to me that they've got evidence they don't really want the mom and dad to know about. Again, just my opinion....

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KansasPerson 2 years, 5 months ago

I think I just won your house. :-) Seriously, FBI absolutely does keep stats on this and the success rate is in the 90%-plus range. Secondly, the compounds released during decomposition start being released immediately (sometimes before death depending on how close to death the person is) and although they are not detectable by humans for a little while, dogs can pick up on them much sooner. A trained and certified HRD (Human Remains Detection) or "cadaver" dog is pretty reliable from what I've read.

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kansasredlegs 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow, not one comment about the reliability of the "cadaver" dog. I'd bet my house that the FBI does not keep stats of the times the dog missed to prove up it's reliability. If that child had died in that home and no bodily fluids (don't forget infant not potty trained) seeped onto the floor or bedding, then someone explain to me the timeframe for a body to fit the definition of a cadaver with decomposing scent. My understanding is that only 6-10 hours passed before Dad came home, so you CSI folks out there, explain what process would have occurred in that timeframe so that the dog would have "hit" on decomposing flesh. Seems very doubtful and seems like police pressure tactics to get Mom to talk even more.

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Sara Garlick 2 years, 5 months ago

I wish that is an accident had occurred, then someone would just admit the truth and get this over with.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

If we can only get a few more news reporters and cameras down there to obsess over this, all will be well.

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atiopatioo 2 years, 5 months ago

Just a guess. While drunk and sleeping, she probably rolled over the kid.

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