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Forensic Blunders

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Forensic Blunders

Post by Rosie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:02 pm

From the offset there were many blunders in the normal investigation of the Madeleine Mccann case.

However there were also the most amazing blunders on the forensic side of this investigation and in this particular investigation, the forensics and DNA were always going to prove highly significant.

One such blunder that sticks in my mind is, we all saw on our TV screens, a woman forensic technician taking finger prints from the one of the most contentious areas of the forensic investigation of this case....the bedroom window.

She was, dusting for finger prints:

  • It was amazing that we could see all this at all!
  • This whole area should have been covered with a tent, to prevent further contamination!
  • She had her unruly hair down which was blowing in the breeze!
  • She had on only ONE glove and that was on her LEFT hand.
  • She was applying the powder with the brush with her RIGHT UNGLOVED hand.
  • Her overalls were not fastened.
  • She did not have a mask on.
  • She could have blown away a single hair with her breath, (apart from other contamination's)!
  • Her case was on the BARE ground, allowing further matter to be carried inside the apartment.
  • She did NOT have her correct footwear on, or even overshoes, thus allowing further contamination.


She should have been correctly scene of crime suited and booted. She sould have been covered from head to toe in a proper suit, the only skin visible should have been the little left on her face.

I remember listen to the commentary of a *proper* forensic scientist talking about this as they were showing this clip of this woman taking these finger prints, he said that just about every single thing that one should NOT do, while taking these fingerprints, this person had done it, he also said, that if this was the shocking standards outside, where we could all see, he was extremely worried about what was going on with the harvesting of forensic evidence inside the apartment, where we could NOT see!
As far as he was concerned, this evidence would be contaminated and the *universal* code for gathering evidence in such cases had not been adhered to.

Remember also that this evidence was not even taken until day FIVE of the investigation and up until that point any Tom, Dick and Jose' could simply walk up to that window and touch it and look through it as it was not sealed off!

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Forensic Blunders

Post by dianeh on Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:53 am

In addition to the blunders in gathering the forensics (and Rosie has only touched on them), there has then been the horrendous blunder in the interpretation of the forensics.

1. Cadaver dogs. I have previously shown that in a Dutch (pretty sure it was dutch) court, that a highly trained dog (like Eddie) had been wrong 75% of the time when indicating the presence of a body. this was in the case of a farmer who murdered his wife and kept the body within him for a number of years. The man gave details to the police as to where he kept the body over the years, and that is how it is known that the dogs made mistakes. The dogs can give indications only, and they are remarkable good at finding the body in situ, but become highly inaccurate if the body is no longer there, which is the case with madeleine (if there ever was a body). This is why the dogs evidence is not admissable in court.
It is beyond belief that the PJ didnt understand this and used this as key evidence in their case.

2. The mitochondrial DNA. I have explained this in a previous thread. But suffice to say that all the DNA proved is that Kate or one of her children had been in the car, or that items belonging to them had been carried in the car. Strange thing that considering it is their hire car. To use this as any evidence that Madeleine had been in the car is ridiculous. It would have been different if it were nuclear DNA which would have allowed a positive match. Alternatively, it would have showed the DNA belonged conclusively to Kate or one of the twins. I doubt that this Mitochondiral DNA 'evidence' would even be allowed to be admitted to a coroner's inquest, as it shows only what one would normally expect. That is DNA evidence of the users of the vehicle.

3. The delays in looking for DNA evidence. Nuclear DNA which must come from intact cells will degrade quickly in hot weather. So one would wonder why there was such a delay in looking at the McCanns hire car. After all, any DNA would be practically unusable after such a long time in the Portuguese summer. One would think the PJ would have been aware of this, and the need to obtain usable DNA samples.

4. Why were the 'blood' spotter dogs not brought in immediatley to search for DNA before any degradation could occur. Not sure, considering that British dogs were offered very early on. Or is that just another piece of misinformation in the press. I dont remember what sort of dogs were offered, but surely if any were offered, then it could have been negotiated as to which type were coming over.

5. Photofits of potential abductors. This is not true forensics but I would have thought that even if it were not being used immediately for publication, that photofits of the man carrying the child, and the man who tried to break into the flat, and the man that the Irish family saw, etc etc, would have been done. I have never been involved in an investigation but it seems by what I have seen on the news that photofits are often done and may only be later released, after the police are sure who they are looking for. No good going back to do it months later, as memory doesnt last for ever, and it will become inaccurate.
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british police say portuguese police twisted maccann evidance

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:01 am

British scientists say Portuguese police 'twisted' McCann evidence
Last updated at 00:27 24 September 2007


Comments (8) Add to My Stories
British scientists have sent Portuguese police an email complaining that their laboratory findings have been "wildly misused".

The Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, who carried out tests on the McCanns' holiday apartment and hire car, criticised detectives for overplaying evidence suggesting Madeleine's DNA had been found in the Renault Scenic which the couple hired 24 days after their daughter disappeared.

They were particularly upset at the way Portuguese police interpreted "inconclusive" forensic evidence and decided the little girl's body could have been transported in the car's boot.

British scientists claim evidence linking McCann's to Madeleine's disappearance is insufficient

Traces of Madeleine's blood, hair and bodily fluids were reportedly found in the car, but the McCanns have said there is nothing that does not have an innocent explanation.

Yesterday a police source in the Algarve admitted that the DNA traces were insufficient to prove a crime.

'We cannot state with certainty she was there,' said the source

sharne

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how the police ruinued dna in maddies bedroom

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:19 am

Madeleine: How the police ruined the forensic evidence in her bedroom
By VANESSA ALLEN
Last updated at 01:22 16 November 2007

Poice searching for Madeleine McCann allowed potentially crucial clues from her bed to be destroyed, it emerged yesterday.

Detectives failed to send her bedding for analysis, even though an abductor could have left fibres, fingerprints or DNA on it.

By the time officers returned to the Ocean Club apartment more than 24 hours after Madeleine's disappearance, cleaners at the holiday complex had washed the sheets, blankets and pillowcase.

A source from the Portuguese police laboratory said: "Some important clue could have been found on those items besides hair, which was what was sent to the institute.

"They forgot that the items in the bedroom could hypothetically have had fibres belonging to a possible abductor or even a fingerprint."
The McCanns' apartment stripped bare: But police did not recover many items for tests until too late

The error is the latest in a series of blunders surrounding the collection of forensic evidence from Kate and Gerry McCann's apartment in Praia da Luz.

Police failed to seal off the apartment as a crime scene, meaning vital samples were contaminated with ash from officers' cigarettes.

Other evidence was trampled under foot by up to 50 people, who left shoe marks and fingerprints.

Officers also allowed the McCanns to move their possessions to another apartment.

Mr and Mrs McCann, both 39, from Leicestershire, have always insisted their daughter was abducted while they ate dinner with friends nearby.


They have been horrified by blunders in the investigation, which they fear could have destroyed their chances of learning what happened to Madeleine.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell declined to comment-on the police investigation, but said it was hoped it was being carried out "as professionally and as competently as possible".

Forensics expert Allan Scott said the bedding could have been a vital source of evidence.

"It is very difficult to be in contact with another surface and not leave a trace of yourself behind."

Further forensic sampling was carried out in the apartment in August, after sniffer dogs allegedly found the "scent of death" and microscopic traces of blood.


Scientists have continued to work on the samples in the hope they could still provide a breakthrough.

The revelations came as a lawyer began moves to bring a private prosecution against the McCanns for alleged child neglect.

Anthony Bennett faxed an application for a court summons against the couple to magistrates in Leicestershire.

He said his move was sparked by a 'lack of action' by the Leicestershire authorities.

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the hunt for information

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:10 am

What is clear is that there is more speculation now than ever, after a three-way war has broken out between the British and Portuguese media and the Portuguese police, with Gerry and Kate at the centre of it,of course giving untrue leekes.

But why has such a war started? One answer is because of the Portuguese legal system and the information vacuum from the police, with details of the investigation remaining unknown because of strict Portuguese laws designed to keep police work secret. The secrecy law that prevents information being shared applies not only to police, but to anyone involved in the investigation.

Under the law of judicial secrecy anyone who releases details of a police investigation while it is still under way could face criminal procedures. In practice, the law has prevented the police from making appeals, or confirming or denying speculation surrounding Madeleine's disappearance. It also prevents Gerry and Kate from speaking out.

For me, the secrecy law presents serious concerns about the Portuguese police's ability to undertake such a complex inquiry. It is this specific law that creates the problem, providing no opportunity to appeal for information from the public, to release a description of what Madeleine was wearing on the night she disappeared, and saying what time she disappeared, for example. In relation to the secrecy law I have sympathy for the Portuguese police, as this is what they have to work within - but it needs changing urgently. This week we have seen a reinvigorated investigation, which for many weeks has limped along, apparently rudderless, lacking focus and direction. On Saturday, as a result of a review by British detectives, we saw Robert Murat's house re-searched, presumably looking for evidence - evidence that was potentially never secured when the police first searched the address. The house and grounds and vehicles were all searched in less than eight hours. If Robert Murat did have evidence at his address was it really likely to be there 11 weeks after the first search?

We also saw Mrs Murat driving her vehicle to the police station in order for them to search it. Why? If the vehicle contained potential evidence the police should have gone and seized it.

Then the most amazing evidence emerged on Monday that blood has been found in the bedroom that Madeleine was sleeping in. Thirteen weeks after Madeleine disappeared and after the apartment had been thoroughly forensically examined (or so we are told), cleaned and re-let - the police find an area of blood that is apparently invisible to the naked eye. This evidence could be vital, although as of yet we do not know if it belongs to Madeleine and are probably unlikely to know this for another week at the earliest.It was since disclosed information the blood was inconsistant,it was not madeleines.

Whoever the blood belongs to, why was it missed in the initial forensic examination? What else have the police missed or failed to investigate thoroughly?it has since been reported ,the blood in question belongs to to a southen european man,so why was the leek given?

With new focus to the police inquiry I would expect to see further development over the forthcoming days - in the build up to the 100-day mark. I also anticipate that there will be more pressure on Gerry and Kate McCann by the Portuguese media, more speculation and more rumours. Whatever the situation, the Portuguese police need to act now, to put a stop to the leaks and enable the investigation to be focused on one thing: finding Madeline.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/aug/09/thehuntforinformation

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police misinformation

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 10, 2008 4:48 am

It's starting to become clear, through the fog of all the 'misinformation' that we may never know the real story because of the failure of the police to investigate Madeleine's disappearance properly.


quote from

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/law_order/will+we+ever+know+the+truth+about+madeleine/804547

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Re: Forensic Blunders

Post by Shingle on Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:47 am

Hello all, sorry I have not been around much, have been away quite a lot recently.

This seem an appropriate place to post this. It is an article on Martin Grimes profile and of the dogs training. Quite a few things leap out at you when you read it....see what you think.







Martin Grimes.





Personal ~profile

I am an U.K.A.C.P.O. accredited police dog training instructor in post at the Operational
Support Services. I am a Subject Matter Expert registered with N.C.P.E. and
specialist homicide canine search advisor. In support of the national Homicide
Search Advisor, Mark Harrison, I advise Domestic and International Law enforcement
agencies on the operational deployment of Police Dogs in the role of Homicide
investigation. I develop methods of detecting forensically recoverable evidence
by the use of dogs and facilitate training. I am a Special Advisor to The U.S.
Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of
Investigation, in relation to their Canine Forensic Program.

I am regularly deployed to assist in high profile homicide cases within my
portfolio
and form a 'Specialist Canine Homicide Search Team' including the S.A.M dog teams
from Dyfed Powys.

My core role includes the training and operational handling of specialist
search dogs
in the fields of Human Victim Recovery and Forensic Crime Scene Investigation.
I have trained and handle two operational specialist search dogs. 'Eddie' is a
7-yearold
English Springer spaniel dog. 'Keela' is a three-year old English Springer
spaniel
*****. I also have a six-month old English Springer spaniel dog, puppy, in
training, 'Morse' .



Search Asset Profile

'Eddie' The Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog (E.V.RD.) will search for and locate
human remains and body fluids including blood to very small samples in any
environment or terrain. The initial training of the asset is conducted using
pig as the subject matter for solid hides and human blood for fluid. The use of
human remains
for the purpose of training dogs in the U.K. is not acceptable at this
point in time.
The dog has however considerable experience in operational
recovery of human remains and evidential forensic material and has trained exclusively
using human remains in
the U.S.A. in association with the F.B.I. The enhanced training of the dog involves the use
of collection of 'Dead body scent' odour from corpses using remote technical equipment
which does not contact.

The E.V.R.D. will locate cadaver, whether in the whole or parts thereof;
deposited surface or sub-surface to a depth of approximately 3-4 feet shortly
after death to the advanced stages of decomposition and putrefaction through to
skeletal. This includes
incinerated remains even if large quantities of accelerant have been involved.
The dog will locate human cadaver in water either from the bank side or when deployed
in a boat where a large area may be covered using a gridding system.

The dog has also been trained to identify 'dead body' scent contamination where
there
is no physically retrievable evidence, due to scent adhering to pervious
material such
as carpet or the upholstery in motor vehicles. Whereas there may be no
retrievable
evidence for court purposes this may well assist intelligence gathering in
Major Crime investigations.





This may be completed
by the dog being deployed directly to the subject area or by scent samples
being taken on sterile gauze pads and the scent check
being completed by scent discrimination exercise at a suitable venue.
The dog will alert to the presence of 'dead body' scent whether it is at source
or some
distance away from a deposition site. This enables the use of the dog to identify
the
exhaust of the scent through fissures in bedrock or watercourses. A geophysical
survey of the area will then reduce the size of the search area.

The dog may be used to screen clothing, vehicles or property in a suitable environment.
This is completed in a scent discrimination exercise where controls rnight be included
to increase accuracy. I have developed the training of the E.V.R.D. to include
the screening of scent pads taken from motor vehicles, property or scenes by a
ST100 Scent Transference Unit.

The unit is designed in a two-part design. The main body is a battery operated
elect.rica1 device that draws air in at to the front and exhausts through the
rear. There
is no 're-circulation' of air within the unit. The second part is a 'grilled'
hood that fits
to the main body. A sterile gauze pad is fitted into the hood. When operated,
the
ST100 draws air through the hood and the sterile gauze pad and exhausts through
ports to the rear. 'Scent' is trapped in the gauze, which may then be
forensically
stored for use within scent discrimination exercises.

The ST 100 unit is cleaned following use in such a manner that no residual
scent is apparent. This is checked by control measures where the dog is allowed
to search a
given area where the S 100 is secreted. Any response by the dog would suggest contamination.
Tests have shown that the decontamination procedures are effective in this case
with the dog NOT alerting to the device when completed.

Use of the ST 100 is recommended when subject vehicles, property, clothing,
premises are to be forensically protected from contamination by the dog, and
for covert
deployment. At a11 other times best practice would be for the dog to be given
direct access.



Operational use of the STü100 is in a developmental stage. 'Keela' The Crime
Scene Investigation (C.S.I.) dog will search for and locate human blood to such
small proportions that it is unlikely to be recovered by the forensic science
procedures in place at this time due to its size or placement.

She will locate contaminated weapons, screen motor vehicles and items of
clothing and examine crime scenes for minute human blood deposits. She will
accurately locate human blood on items that have been subjected to 'clean up
operations' or having been subjected to severa1 washing machine cycles. In
training she has accurately located minute samples of blood on property up thirty-six
years old.

In order for the dog to locate the source the blood must have 'dried' in situ.
Any 'wetting' once dried will not aixt the dog's abilities. Blood that is
subjected to dilution by precipitation or other substantial water source
prior to drying will soak into the ground or other absorbent material. This may
dilute
the scent to an unacceptable leve1 for accurate location.

It is possible however that the EVRD will locate the scent source as it would
for 'dead
body' scent. Forensic testing may not produce evidence but any alert may
provide intelligence to support other factors in the investigation of a crime. The
assets may be deployed upon request of an Senior Investigating Officer (S.I.O.)
following consultation with the appropriate S.M.E.'s and advisors.

The project team rnakes decisions on suitability for case deployment. Due to
the very nature of the dog's presence, cross contamination and preservation of
vital evidence at
crime scenes must be considered prior to any deployment in consultation with
the senior crime scene coordinator.


Both dogs and I are licensed as two separate working teams. We are independently
tested and licensed annually, normally at six monthly intervals as a 'rolling' programme
to ensure best practice is maintained. They are tested to units of assessment
prepared as a stand-alone system as these dogs are the only assets of their type
in the world. Training records are maintained and are available if required.

POINTS TO ASSIST

Whilst it is stated that the E.V.RD. is originally trained using pig the
following notes of guidance should be considered when assessing indications:

In six years operational deployment in over 200 cases the dog has never alerted
to meat based foodstuffs. The dog has never alerted to 'road kill'


P Alerts given by the dog where no obvious human remains are found are supported
by forensic evidence I anecdotal witness accounts.



The dog, a scavenger, uses its olfactory system to locate food sources, identify
its young and other pack members, enemies and predators over large distances. It
can track its prey identifying a direction of travel. This entails the dog
being able to discriminate the time difference between footsteps using the sense
of smell !





The dog is an animal that's basic function in the wild is to
scavenge food and procreate. In a domestic environment it responds to humans as
a food source and bonds in the manner it would with other pack members.



The reward of food and protection / close cohort provides the basis for a system
to be adopted where the dog shows a willingness to respond in response to the
reward. We are thereby able to 'train' the dog using
conditioned responses to stimuli. Repetition and reward then ensure efficiency.
Positive and negative reinforcement then shape the required behaviour in their
role. P Pavlov's theory is used in the case of the E.V.RD. system of alert. He
has been 'conditioned' to give a verbal alert when coming into contact with
'dead
body scent'. The presence of tangible material is not required to produce the response.






Although the dog is 'trained' using reward based methods the
behaviour shaping and enforcement regime produces an asset that does not false
alert unlike electronic devices.



Pseudo scent is a chemically produced product that its manufacturers claim to
resemble 'dead body scent'. Although some trainers have had limited success when
tested on my dogs they showed no interest.
Operational finds backed by forensic corroboration have shown that the system
adopted by me in the training of the dogs is both effective and
efficient.

Acting in my role of advisor to the U.S. Justice Department I have facilitated assessment
of numerous cadaver search dog teams in the United States. These
dogs are exclusively trained using human cadaver sources. When I introduced
pig based products into training assessments 100?! of the animals alerted to the
medium.
The result from scientific experiment and research to date would tend to support
the theory that the scent of human and pig decomposing material is so similar
that we are unable to 'train' the dog to distinguish between the two. That is
not to say that this may not be possible in the future.

The odour target of cadaver is scientifically explained through 'volatile
compounds" that in a certain configuration are received by the dog as a
receptor. Recognition then gives a conditioned response 'ALERT'. Despite considerable
research and analytical investigation the compounds cannot be replicated in
laboratory processes. Therefore the 'dert' by dogs without a tangible source
cannot be forensically proven at this time.

'Dead body scent' cannot be removed by cleaning. The compounds adhere to surfaces.
The scent can be 'masked' by bleach and other strong smelling odours but the
dog's olfactory system is able to separate odour and identify specific
compounds' and mixes to cellular level. A similar system would be a device
similar to an electron rnicroscope. In training the dog has accurately alerted
to a 1 cm cube of pork soaked in petrol for 1 week and then burnt until only a
residue remains.

The dog's olfactory system is so highly developed that it continues to be
efficient at cellular level:

Distinguish the time difference between footprints to give a direction of
travel.

Distinguish live from dead within minutes.

Distinguish human blood from other species where the chemical constituent parts
are identical.

Identify the EXACT location of blood so small in size that when forensically
recovered will NOT provide a full DNA
strand despite low copy DNA analysis.

Scientists accept that there is no forensic testing equipment as discriminatory
as the dogs olfactory system at this present moment in time.

All research and training of the dogs within this program is completed in
conjunction with a team of scientists for differing fields of expertise. They
have in the past and will continue to endorse the dogs uses within the field of
homicide investigations.

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Post by dianeh on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:01 am

The article is self contradictory and self serving.

The article claims that the dog detects blood that is not able to be detected by other forensics. This is rubbish and if the blood cannot be detected by other means, then it isnt there, not that it is in such small amounts that it cant be detected. The problem with this is that he is saying this as a way of circumventing the false positives.

And then it gets very confusing saying that the dogs have never alerted to meat products or road kill, but that in studies in the US they found that the dogs cannot distinguish between human and pig.

But notice (unless I missed it) that there is no mention of the dogs reacting to the handler, or if studies have been done to identify if the handler affects the results.

I think the results in Jersey have clearly identified that the Eddie was wrong and that no children were killed in that basement. The results in Jersey clearly contradict what is in this article.

I think that Grimes is overstating the value of the dogs, and that it is in his interest to do so. The dogs are a valuable tool, but any indications from them are meaningless without supporting evidence. Jersey has proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
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Re: Forensic Blunders

Post by Shingle on Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:20 am

Dianeh,

Indeed it is very self contradictory. In the video where the dogs check the accommodation,
Eddie does react to food stuff and Martin Grimes can be heard explaining that
very fact.

I find the bit where he says “The initial training of the asset,” to be very
telling too. The asset……that says just what they are to him….assets, a means of
making a damm good living.

So would anyone relying on their assets to make a living,
have anything but good to say about them?

As you point out, the dogs in the USA who had all been trained using
Human Cadaver Sources, all reacted to the scent of pork. Now in the 15,000
years that we have had domesticated dogs, we have changed the appearance of
them no end, but we have never managed to change one single instinct of them.

Given that fact, why should any dog not react to the scent
of pork given that even Grimes himself says that dogs are unable to distinguish
between pork and human scent?

Which brings me to one of the reasons I posted that article, when
the Parents moved apartments, they put all their luggage in the Renault, and
this included the rubbish that they would dump later. I remember there being
meat in that rubbish and that was placed in the boot of the car.

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Post by dianeh on Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:07 am

Adding to your comment about the meat in the car when the McCanns moved. There could have been pork smell (for want of a better word) in the car from any previous hirers of the car. Grimes says that the dogs are able to pick up old smells. He was mostly talking about detecting old blood, and it was the Keela that reacted to the boot, which means it was blood that she detected. It could have been pork juice from anyone, from any time from the life of the car.

The whole thing is a crock.

I have said all along that the dogs are very valuable as a tool to help find evidence of a crime. But their indications by themselves mean nothing because of all the variable factors involved. Anyone who thinks that the dog evidence proves that a 'dead' Madeleine was in that car, or in the apartment are living in some sort of fantasy world. And Grimes self serving article only confirms to me that the dog indications/reactions are only a screening tool, to indicate where further work needs to be done, and that on their own completely useless.
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Re: Forensic Blunders

Post by Shingle on Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:08 pm

Dianeh,

I have posted before on the subject of the dogs. They were directed intensly before they made any kind of alert, not the way it was first believed that these two super dogs had cracked the case. Even a lot of the anti's went quiet about these super dogs, after the video's were released.

The simple fact is, that you would expect to find some of Maddies DNA in the Renault. It was used to carry all of her stuff to the new appartment, so it would be reasonable for some of her DNA to end up in the car.

But if her body had been transported in the boot, a month after she died, you would not need dogs to lead you to the smell, and you would have needed a shovel not a microscope to collect the DNA evidence.

All in all the dogs found nothing, it was Grimes that supposed they would and made sure that they did, but with no scientific evidence to back up the "Alerts" the dogs and Grimes came out intact, and able to ply their trade in another lucrative case....funny they had the same result in that one too.

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