K-9 unit's cemetery 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



Team leader:

William Carter

Total Miles:


Total Hours:







Detective T. Armstrong, Detective S. Murphy


St. Peter's Cemetery a.k.a Oxford Memorial Cemetery, 416-438 North 16th Street, Oxford

Search Criteria:

Human remains, blood, residual scent

Search Type:

Speculative modified spiral search

Time on Scene:

Arrive 10:50 a.m.

Depart 1:30 p.m.


Weather Conditions:

Good. Clear, gusty winds, air temperature range 54° F to 59° F during search period

Field Report:

The team arrived at location St. Peter's Cemetery a.k.a. Oxford Memorial Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. We were met by Detectives Murphy and Armstrong of the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department and Forensic Officer T. R. Douglas.

The area is bounded by North 16th Street to the west, Chandler Avenue to the north, Bramlett Boulevard to the east, and Jefferson Avenue to the south. A speculative modified spiral search plan was implemented, beginning with the southwest corner of the cemetery based on information from an anonymous tip to the YCSD. We were specifically looking for any evidence of a crime scene with residual blood, human remains or human forensic evidence and any potential physical evidence.

The area is bounded by Chandler Avenue to the north, Bramlett Boulevard to the east, Jefferson Avenue to the south, and North 16th Street to the west. The area was marked off in a grid of 16 squares each measuring 88 yards square. The search area was divided as follows:

W. Carter worked the designated area for human remains, blood and forensic evidence with K-9 Major, 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.

The first active alert was strong buried body alert at the marked gravesite for Harriet Nelson, interred on January 2, 2014. The second active alert was an aggressive response for blood 4.5 feet from the east side of the Nelson gravesite. A passive alert was also made at flag three indicating possible blood traces 1.75 feet from the access road.

Alert flags set and mapped:

Alert Flag 1: human remains — cadaver scent strongly indicated, gravesite

Alert Flag 2: blood scent — strongly indicated, 4.5 feet to east of Flag 1

Alert Flag 3: blood scent — trace indication, 1.75 feet from access road trailing 2 feet

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 modified spiral search: the dog is leashed and a controlled, methodical search is conducted in concentric circles from a fixed starting point. A modified spiral search indicates that the search does not cover all 360° surrounding the central starting point. A speculative search indicates there is no concrete knowledge that a crime scene is present.


//Submitted by W. Carter 1/15/2014

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


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