New Forensic Technology Breakthrough for Detecting Human Remains

Authorities and scientists have used scent detection dogs to find human remains and graves sites for a long time now.  There is a new technology breakthrough that has been created to assist in this important investigation of finding bodies and remains from natural disasters and crime scenes. 

A hand held device called “LABRADOR” (acronym: Light-Weight Analyzer for Buried Remains and Decomposition Odor Recognition) is capable of locating buried human bodies or remains.  This device is designed and can be used on the surface to detect chemical compounds or to find a grave that is 2 to 2 1/2 feet deep.  According to the FBI, that has been the average depth for buried remains.

From extensive studies at the Body Farm, a research lab devoted to studying the process of human decomposition, there are eight major classes of chemicals that were revealed, which calculates to 478 specific compounds associated with burial decomposition.  It takes approximately 17 days for odors to make their way to the surface from a buried gravesite. 

The idea behind this new technology is that it would lower the cost to law enforcement.  This device would be available at any time, never eats, and wouldn’t need a kennel or a trainer.   The hand-held device is self-contained, portable, and built to use in the field.  The cost has been estimated to be around $1,000 – $1,500 and the batteries would last up to six hours in the field.


It is interesting where technology has taken the scientific world of forensics.  It seems to be changing annually or even monthly.  Personally, I find the value of scent detection dogs to be extremely effective and would prefer that means of human remains detection. 

My take, dogs are built and more capable of working tough terrains and they still have more scent detectors than any machine.  What can I say?  I’m a dog person.  But at the same time, smaller departments or budget restrictions would allow more police departments to use this type of handheld equipment instead of dogs. 

What do you think? 

* * *

Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
This entry was posted in Forensic and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to New Forensic Technology Breakthrough for Detecting Human Remains

  1. zencherry says:

    I understand the budget concerns, but I’ll bet those handheld devices cost as much as a several months care (or more) for a trained dog and don’t forget batteries. There’s that and the fact that I’ve seen my dog hunt things out far below two and half feet. Like a pesky rock. Haha! 😉 Yeah, I’m a dog person too and I’d hate to see the shelter dogs not being able to find work. 😦


  2. Dena says:

    It is amazing.. interesting note from the Body Farm ” It takes approximately 17 days for odors to make their way to the surface from a buried grave site. ” I have always thought that search areas closest to the area a person went missing should be RE- SEARCHED at a later time… hmm
    I Have been watching this technology for 4 years now.. any news as to when it will be marketed ?
    Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s