Martin Grime Report to PJ (McCann case) Search Asset Profiles

Report to PJ by Martin Grime re: Eddie & Keela search McCann case
09_VOLUME_IXa 09-Processo 9 pages 2473 to 2483
Eddie & Keela Martin Grimes Report
August 2007


Vol IX p. 2478

U.K., A.C.P.O. licensed and accredited cadaver dogs are trained and licensed on the basis of the relevant section of the Police Dog Training and Care manual. This involves the training of G.P. (General Purpose) dogs to alert to the presence of surface deposition and sub-surface deposition to approximately 2 feet. The dogs are deployed on long lines to search an area in large numbers.

The U.K. has also approximately six Police dog teams that have been trained exclusively on decomposing pig remains not for human consumption as specialist dogs to work off the leash to locate human remains in a wider variety of scenarios. Pig is used as it has been proven in training and operationally over the last 20 years to be a reliable analogue for human remains detecting training for dogs. The possession of human remains for the purpose of training dogs in the U.K. is not acceptable at this point in time.

Licensing is derived from anecdotal cases and is scenario based conducted over a period of a week, twice annually, it is conducted utilising independent A.C.P.O. authorised assessors. Continuation training is conducted on a dialy basis and includes simple scent discrimination testing to large scale scenario based exercises.

Both dogs and I are licensed as two separate working teams. We are independently tested and licensed annually, normally at six monthly intervals as a 'rolling' programme to ensure best practice is maintained. They are tested to units of assessment prepared as a stand-alone system as these dogs are unique. Training records are maintained and are available if required.

All operational deployments are video recorded including a control sample find when appropriate.

Vol IX p. 2479

The dog, a scavenger, uses its olfactory system to locate food sources, identify its young, other pack members, enemies and predators over large distances. It can track its prey identifying a direction of travel. This entails the dog being able to discriminate the time difference between footsteps using the sense of smell. The reward of food and protection / close comfort provides the basis for a system to be adopted where the dog shows a willingness to respond in response to the reward. We are thereby able to 'train' the dog using conditioned responses to stimuli. Repetition and reward then ensure efficiency. Positive and negative reinforcement then shape the required behaviour in their role. Within the role of these dogs they are utilising basis survival instinct but have undergone behaviour shaping to alert the handler to their finding as opposed to consummation.

Pavlov's theory is used in the case of the E.V.R.D. system of alert. He has been 'conditioned' to give a verbal alert when coming into contact with 'dead body scent'. The presence of tangible material is not required to produce the response merely the scent itself. Pseudo scent is an artificially chemically produced product that its manufacturers claim to resemble 'dead body scent'. Although some cadaver dog trainers have had limited success with its use in training, when tested on my dogs they showed no interest and it is not used as a training aid for them.

In my role as advisor to the U.S. Justice Department I have facilitated assessment of numerous cadaver search dog teams in the United States. These dogs are exclusively trained using human cadaver sources. When I introduced decomposing pig cadavers into training assessments 100 % of the animals alerted to the medium. (The products were obtained from whole piglet cadaver not processed food for human consumption). The result from scientific experiments and research to date is suggestive that the scent of human and pig decomposing material is so similar that we are unable to 'train' the dog to distinguish between the two. That is not to say that this may not be possible in the future.


The odour target of cadaver is scientifically explained through 'volatile organic compounds' that in a certain configuration are received by the dog as a receptor. Recognition then gives a conditioned response 'ALERT'. Despite considerable research and analytical investigation the compounds cannot as yet be replicated in laboratory processes. Therefore the 'alert' by dogs without a tangible source cannot be forensically proven at this time. Cadaver scent cannot readily be removed by cleaning as the compounds adhere to surfaces. The scent can be 'masked' by bleach and other strong smelling odours but the dog's olfactory system is able to isolate the odours and identify specific compounds' and mixes. Cadaver scent contamination may be transferred in numerous scenarios. Any contact with a cadaver which is then passed to any other material may be recognised by the dog causing a 'trigger' indication.

Vol. IX p. 2480

'Eddie' The Enhanced Victim Recovery Dog (E.V.R.D.) will search for and locate human remains and body fluids including blood in any environment or terrain. The initial training of the dog was conducted using human blood and stil born decomposing piglets. The importance of this is that the dog is introduced to the scent of a decomposing body NOT FOODSTUFF. This ensures that the dog disregards the 'bacon sandwich' and 'kebab' etc that is ever present in the background environment. Therefore the dog would remain efficient searching for a cadaver in a café where the clientele were sat eating bacon sandwiches. He has additionally trained exclusively using human remains in the U.S.A. in association with the F.B.I. The enhanced training of the dog has also involved the use of collection of 'cadaver scent' odor from human corpses using remote technical equipment which does not contact the subject. This method is comparable to the simulation of cross contamination. It does however differ in that the remote scent samples recovery does not involve subject matter and therefore is a 'pure' scent sample. The dog has since initial training gained considerable experience in successfully operationally locating human remains and evidential forensic material.

The E.R.V.D. has successfully in training and in operational casework located Human cadaders, whether in the whole or parts thereof, deposited surface or sub-surface to a depth of approximately 1 metre shortly after death (though precise times are not determinable) to the advanced stages of decomposition and putrefaction through the skeletal. This includes incinerated remains even if large quantities of accelerant have been involved. The dog has successfully in training and in operational casework located a human cadavers in water either from the bank siade or when deployed in a boat.

The dog has also been trained to identify cadaver scent contamination where there is no physically retrievable evidence, due to scent adhering to pervious material such as carpet or the upholstery in motor vehicles. This may be achieved by the dog being deployed directly to the subject area or by scent samples being taken by remote means on sterile gauze pads. The gauze pads are then 'screened' in a line - up formation with the inclusion of a number of control samples and blank sterile pads.

The dog will alert to the presence of cadaver scent whether it is at source or some distance away from a deposition site. This enables the use of the dog to identify the venting or exhaust channels of the scent through fissures in bedrock or watercourses. A geophysical survey of the area will then reduce the size of the search area.

The dog may be used to screen clothing, vehicles or property in a suitable environment. This is completed in a scent discrimination exercise where controls may be included to increase assurity.

Vol IX p. 2481

'False' positives are always a possibility; to date Eddie has not so indicated operationally or in training. In six years of operational deployment in over 200 criminal case searches the dog has never alerted to meat based and specifically pork foodstuffs designed for human consumption. Similarly the dog has never alerted to 'road kill', that is any other dead animal. My experience as a trainer is that false alerts are normally caused by handler cueing. All indications by the dog are preceded by a change in bahaviour. This increased handler confidence in the response. This procedure also stops handlers 'cueing' and indication. The dogs are allowed to 'free search' and investigate areas of interest. The handler does not influence their behaviour other than to direct the search.


I have developed the training of the E.V.R.D. to include the screening of scent pads taken from motor vehicles, property or scenes by a Scent Transference Unit. Operational use of the STU is in a developmental and evaluative stage used in conjunction with selective FBI casework. The unis is in a two-part design. The main body is a battery operated electrical device that draws air in at to the front and exhausts through the rear. There is no 're-circulation' of air within the unit. The second part is a 'grilled' hood that fits to the main body. A sterile gauze pad is fitted into the hood. When operated, the STU draws air through the hood and the sterile gauze pad and exhausts through ports to the rear. 'Scent' is trapped in the gauze, which may then be forensically stored for use within scent discrimination exercises.

The STU is cleaned following use in such a manner that no residual scent is apparent. This is checked by control measures where the dog is allowed to search a given area where the STU is secreted. Any response by the dog would suggest contamination. Tests have shown that the decontamination procedures are effective in this case with the dog NOT alerting to the device when completed. Use of the STU is considered when subject vehicles, property, clothing, premises are to be forensically protected from contamination by the dog, and for covert deployment. At all other times best practice would be for the dog to be given direct access.


Northern Ireland, UK
A missing person, last seen returning from church, on foot, in N. Ireland. The search of suspects 'burnt out vehicle' by forensic scientists did not reveal any evidence. A search by the E.V.R.D. identified a position in the rear passenger foot well where the dog alerted to the presence of human material. A sample was taken and when analysed revealed the victims' DNA. The enquiry then concentrated its efforts on the suspect and the E.V.R.D. located the body of the woman in a river bank deposition site. Further searches identified a location where the E.V.R.D. alerted in the front bedroom of the offenders empty next door dwelling house. When interviewed the suspect admitted that the body had lain in the room for 1 hour prior to disposal. Forensic teams were unable to extract any forensic evidence despite being shown the exact position.

Wiltshire, UK
A female was abducted by her ex-boyfriend. Intelligence suggested that her ex-boy friend had taken her to his house. A search by the EVRD of the house resulted in small blood stains being alert indicated and forensically confirmed as her blood. The suspect, a builder, was in possession of a van. This was searched and the EVRD dog alerted to a 'wacker plate', spirtit level, and shovel. A site was identified where the suspect had been working. The EVRD then located the body deposition site in an area of a garbage base that had been prepared by the suspect. He had returned with the dead girl, dug a grave in the centre, placed the body in the hole, replaced the spoil and then used the shovel, wacker plate and spirit level to return the ground to its original state.

Devon, UK
A female was abducted and her whereabouts were unknown. The suspect was a bus driver. An initial search by the E.V.R.D. alerted at a location near to a sighting of the suspect in suspicious circumstances. A forensic search at the alert location revealed a small button off of the girls clothing in long grass. The offender confessed to the murder and confirmed her body had been initially temporarily placed at the dog's alert location.

Cornwall, UK
A woman was reported missing by her partner. A search of the suspects house by the EVRD was conducted who indicated on the living room carpet. No forensic evidence was recovered. Subsequently a diary written by the suspect was alert indicated by the dog. The diary had written extracts that the offender had laid the victim on the carpet whilst dead, the diary had in fact been written by the suspect having handled the body. This was confirmed by the offender in interview.

New Mexico, U.S.A.
A witness reported having seen two men walk off into brush land carrying a spade and a corpse. The area was searched with the EVRD with no indications being forthcoming. Other assets were utilised and the body was found: buried at a depth of 8 feet, under the water table, 3 feet of cement and 5 feet of earth replaced on top the corpse that was wrapped in cling film. There being no scent available to the dog to receive there was no forthcoming


'Keela' The Crime Scene Investigation (C.S.I.) dog will search for and locate exclusively human blood. She will locate contaminated weapons, screen motor vehicles and items of clothing and examine crime scenes for human blood deposits. She will accurately locate human blood on items that have been subjected to 'clean up operations' or having been subjected to several washing machine cycles. In training she has accurately located samples of blood on property up to thirty-six years old.

In order for the dog to locate the source the blood must have 'dried' in situ. Any 'wetting' once dried will not affect the dog's abilities. Blood that is subjected to dilution by precipitation or other substantial water source prior to drying will soak into the ground or other absorbent material. This may dilute the scent to an unacceptable level for accurate location.

She is trained specifically using human blood obtained through the haematology department at Sheffield Northern General Hospital. The blood undergoes strict screening for disease and contamination prior to use. The samples are from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and are from both male and female sources.

Keela's training and licensing is based around the level of 1 positive screening sample introduced into 200 control articles or 1 positive sample introduced during 6 hours searching in relation to crime scenes or vehicles.

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