K-9 unit's search report

Forensic Evidence Agency Field Report
State Crime Lab Forensic K-9 Unit
Jackson, MS

Requesting Agency:

Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Dept.

Case #:


Date of Search:



William Carter




James Olton



Team leader:

William Carter

Total Miles:


Total Hours:







Detective T. Armstrong, Detective S. Murphy


Eastgate Shopping Center, 1917 University Avenue, Oxford

Search Criteria:

Forensic evidence search, blood, residual scent

Search Type:

Speculative grid search criteria

Time on Scene:

Arrive 10:00 a.m.

Depart 5:30 p.m.


Weather Conditions:

Good. Clear, calm, air temperature range 28° to 43° F during search period.

Field Report:

The team arrived at location Eastgate Shopping center at 10:00 a.m. We were met by Detectives Murphy and Armstrong of the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department and Forensic Officer T. R. Douglas.

A speculative systematic grid search plan was implemented. We were specifically looking for any evidence of a crime scene with residual blood or human forensic evidence and any potential physical evidence.

The area marked is bounded by University Avenue to the north, 352 yards south of University Avenue, McLarty Road to the west, and barrier to access entry to Highway 7 to the east. The area was marked off in a grid of 16 squares each measuring 88 yards square. The search area was divided as follows:

First pass: J. Olton worked the 8 western squares for residual scent with K-9 Gray. Gray is specifically trained in residual scent. No alerts were made. W. Carter worked the 8 eastern squares for blood and forensic evidence with K-9 Major. The eastern squares contained the most secluded locations on the grid and was felt to be the more likely potential for identifying evidence of the crime scene. Major is a forensic search dog, trained in decomp human scent, residual scent including blood, disarticulation and crime scenes. Two significant active alerts were made and alert flags set. These flags are marked as flag one and flag two on the area map.

The active alert was an aggressive response for blood indicating to the search team that the area was a significant finding. This occurred in the vicinity of stacked crates to the southwest side of the shopping center building near the access road barrier. Location is marked on the map. It was clear that the scent area was covered by existing crates and pallets. At this point the scene was turned over to the forensics team for photographing and evidence collection.

Second pass: W. Carter worked the 8 western squares for forensic evidence with K-9 Major. No alerts were made. J. Olton worked the 8 eastern squares for residual scent with K-9 Gray. One passive alert was made at flag three. The finding was somewhat ambiguous on scent matching that of subjects Cameron Maxwell and Caitlin Maxwell. Major was given the scent and also alerted on the location of flag three substantiating the scent. Some caution should be exercised in interpretation of this finding considering it a positive indication rather than a positive identification. Major also alerted for trace blood evidence. The forensic team processed the area.

Alert flags set and mapped:

Alert Flag 1: blood scent — aggressive alert, positive identification

Alert Flag 2: blood scent — aggressive alert, positive identification

Alert Flag 3: trace scent blood, passive alert, residual scent consistent with scent samples identified as that for Cameron Maxwell and that for Caitlin Maxwell

Definition of terms:

Active Alert: dog indicates scent source in aggressive manner, indicates high likelihood of finding

Alert: the trained response of the dog when it has located a scent or object it has been imprinted to find, each imprint has a different alert

Speculative grid search: the dog is leashed and a controlled, methodical area by area search is conducted to ensure nothing is missed, a speculative search indicates that there is no concrete knowledge that a crime scene is present.


//Submitted by W. Carter 1/9/2014

cc: YCSD Detective T. Armstrong, YCSD Detective S. Murphy


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