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Combined Use of Pollen and Soil Analysis in a Search and Subsequent Murder Investigation

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 47 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2002 Pages: 614-618
Antony G. Brown Ph.D.; Andrew Smith M.Sc.; Orlando Elmhurst B.Sc.
Date Published
5 pages
This article provides a case study to illustrate how soil and pollen analysis may be combined to refine or strengthen an association in criminal investigations and criminal trials.
The authors begin by explaining that soil and pollen analysis have enjoyed a long history in the forensic sciences. These data sources are used to show associations between people and places in criminal investigations. The authors then report on a case study in which soil and pollen analysis were combined in order to solve a missing persons case. In this case, a retired couple was reported missing and, upon investigation, blood was found in their house and vehicle. Their vehicle was also quite soiled. Forensic investigation of the vehicle included soil and pollen analysis. Meanwhile, an exhaustive search for the couple in the surrounding area had turned up no sign of the missing persons. However, the results of the soil and pollen samples redirected the searchers to an area where the type of soil and plant samples taken from the vehicle, exist in nature. Within 2 days, the couple was located. Thus, the article demonstrates the usefulness of combining soil and pollen analysis to pinpoint associations, such as where particular types of soil and plants may co-exist. The authors point out that this type of forensic investigation can prove critical in criminal investigations and trials. 3 Figure, 6 references