Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Dogs Identify Murder Suspect from Manure on Shoe
Something of a precursor to the modern scent lineup is described by Adee Schoon and Ruud Haak in their book, K9 Suspect Discrimination. In 1918, a farmer was murdered near the town of Breezand in Holland. Fingerprints taken from the crime scene were found to belong to one suspect, who confessed and implicated two other men, one of whom was also apprehended. This second suspect had slipped when climbing through a barn window and his right foot went into a manure gutter. When asked about the manure still on his shoes, the suspect said that he had recently gone to a cattle market in the town of Purmerend, where he had stepped in manure. The investigator in the case, Van Ledden Hulsebosch, wondered if a dog could distinguish between manure obtained from different locations. He asked the gendarme from Breezand to bring him cow manure from 12 different locations, including the place where the murder had occurred. The manure from the different locations was put into 12 clean jam jars, which were numbered and labeled indicating the cowshed from which the manure was obtained. Hulsebosch took 72 pieces of paper and divided them into six groups of 12, labeling each of the 12 sheets according to the numbers on the jam jars holding the manure. Manure was then spread on the papers, which were then laid out in the courtyard of the police headquarters. The inspector let dogs sniff the manure from one barn, then released them in the courtyard to find the sheet with manure from the same source. The dogs alerted to the correct piece of paper. The experiment was repeated a number of times, with the correct paper identified every time. The next phase involved the shoes of the suspect. The suspect’s left shoe had no manure on it and the dogs did not react to it. When they were presented with the right shoe, the one with manure on it, they began searching until they found the piece of paper in the courtyard with the same scent on it. That piece of paper held manure taken from the barn where the farmer had been killed. The dogs had identified a second participant in the crime. Adee Schoon and Ruud Haak, K9 Suspect Discrimination, 27-28 (Detselig Enterprizes 2002).