The impact of training and experience on the recovery of evidence in outdoor forensic scenes: implications for human remains recovery
Studebaker-Reed, Mary Susan Elizabeth
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The present study involves a multivariate assessment of the success of evidence recovery by searchers from various backgrounds and skill levels. Volunteers representing four experience levels (civilian volunteers, first year forensic anthropology graduate students, second year forensic anthropology graduate students, and first responders) conducted line searches of mock crime scenes, flagging items of forensic significance with pin flags. The groups were then briefly trained in human skeletal remains recovery, and implemented this training through a second set of mock scene searches. Recovery rates were compared across pre- and post-training trials and across searcher groups in order to determine the influence of searcher training and experience on search success. The results of this study reveal not only the percentage of evidence that was recovered by search teams, but exhibits the degree to which experience and training played a role in evidence recovery.