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Landfill Searches for Human Remains

  • Brian D. Paulsen
  • Kimberlee Sue Moran
Chapter

Abstract

Clandestine burials typically are thought of as shallow graves. However, an often overlooked form of clandestine burial are individuals who end up in landfills. This may be intentional placement or it may be the result of body disposal in a waste receptacle whose contents ultimately arrive at a landfill site. This chapter offers a study on the frequency and success rate of landfill searches for human remains. Victims placed in landfills are likely to be adult males. Children are also disposed of in the landfill environment, but generally these are newborn infants. The placement in the landfill could be considered a secondary deception technique as victims may be dismembered and/or burned prior to landfill disposal.

Landfills exhibit the formation of stratigraphy similar to that of traditional archeological sites. This, in addition to contextual relationships, can be used in the relative dating of remains. The findings of the study discussed in this chapter offer conclusions on how best to conduct a landfill search. Landfills should be included in missing person searches as an area of investigation.

Keywords

Landfills Clandestine burials Stratigraphy Law enforcement Archeology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian D. Paulsen
    • 1
  • Kimberlee Sue Moran
    • 2
  1. 1.Chief of Police (Retired)CroftonUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryRutgers University – CamdenCamdenUSA

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