CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, October 7, 2005

Forget the Books, Bring on the Rotten Beef

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi professor John Graham took the fourteen students in his forensic science class for a stinky ride.  Four weeks ago, they built two dummy cadavers and stuffed them with raw beef and pork products.

From the "'It's as close as we can get to the real thing," Graham said. "It's as real as we can make it under the circumstances." The class divided into two teams, each creating their own dummy and planting it in a secluded coastal area on campus.  Students simulated a kidnapping, wrapped the fake cadavers in carpet and tied their hands with cords so they could gather trace evidence later.

During [this past] Tuesday's class, the teams trekked out to the simulated crime scenes and began the investigation process. Each team member was careful to approach the scene in the proper way to avoid disturbing any evidence. 'We have to work from the outside in,' said biomedical student Vickie Fierova.  For the rest of the class, team members took turns stepping through the crime scene tape, carefully collecting trace evidence and documenting every minute detail.

Graham said this type of project is crucial for students who want to pursue careers in forensic sciences. 'It gives them the opportunity to acclimate themselves and apply the other scientific standards they've learned in the other science classes,' Graham said. [Mark Godsey]

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