Cadaver Dogs – Casey Anthony Case

eddieAs many of you know I also run the Headlines-Today blog along with JJP. Today a comment was left on that blog about the cadaver dogs in the Casey Anthony case being heard in the United States of America.

I won’t go into the details of the said case, because that is irrelevant but during the investigation stage, cadaver dogs were used and there are many of twitter that are using the Cadaver dogs used in this case, to prove the connections in the McCann case and how the parents could be involved and the reason why they conclude that Madeleine in not alive.

A reader and commentator of Headlines Blog, Carana, has been very helpful and made many informative posts along with another reader Sally. Their knowledge of the contents of the files and how they can lay their hands on information just like that is astounding and to them I want to say Thank You because without them I might still have been running around with niggling doubts as to whether I could still be wrong in this case. Without being biased they have both provided fact upon fact that proves that Madeleine is nothing other than a missing child and the parents are not responsible for causing her any harm and disposing of her body.

However back to the comment I would like everyone to read this comment, everyone who is saying because the dogs were correct in the Casey case it proves Madeleine is dead. Now here under cross examination is the proof that cadaver odour can come from a decaying substance which has left the body, which includes decaying fluids emitted from a live person. Carana wrote:

From the Casey Anthony trial:

– On cross examination, Brewer stated that dogs can alert on bodily fluids from a living person that are now decomposing. Defense attorney Jose Baez gave the example of blood or a fingernail from a live person, and Brewer agreed that it is possible a dog would pick up on that.

Brewer stated that they train the dogs on cars with known histories because it is possible that an unknown older car could have been contaminated, possibly by being in an accident or somebody having bled inside. As a result, Baez asked if the dog was more of a tool than a conclusive indicator of the presence of decomposition. Brewer said that was true because the dogs are “trained to find the strongest source, whatever it might be.” –


– Baez also hammered home, obtaining Brewer’s concession, that cadaver dogs can alert to bodily fluids from a live person that begin to decompose after leaving the body. Brewer said that assertion was accurate due to cadaver dogs being “trained to find the strongest source, whatever it might be.”


All considerations of wishing to please the handler aside for the moment, the above seems to confirm what I’d thought to be the case: the dog reacts to certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that it’s trained for. From the Grime/Harrison documents this relates to VOCs associated with human/porcine decomposition. However, what the dog reacts to does not necessarily equate to a dead person.

As far as I can work out, Eddie will react to:

– the presence, at some point, of a dead person (cadaver);
– something that had been in contact with a dead person at some point – cf the Sharon case: and she was found very much alive. (Cadaver contaminant):
– anything involving VOCs (the odour of decay) of human or porcine origin.

I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong, but my conclusion so far is that the dog will react to any human substance that is decaying.

Aside from the gruesome possibilities, the reactions could include: a bleeding accident, the physical remains of love-making, a wee-wee accident, etc., that were only cleaned up some time later…. or, for example, the keepsake of a milk tooth or the ashes of a deceased loved one or some item that had been in contact with someone who had died.

As far as I can tell, any such incident could have made Eddie react. The next stage is to wheel in Keela to see if she can spot blood – as that could help the forensic people to concentrate on where she alerts to try to find any blood-related DNA that could be of significance to a crime or a serious accident.

I really don’t think the issue is more complicated than that.

Carana then makes another post saying:

I realise I won’t be popular… but that’s ok.

I am not dissing the dogs. If I, or a loved one, were stuck under rubble during a disaster, I would be crossing my fingers and toes that the dog was accurate. Alive or dead, friends and family need to know.

That said, I just think the interpretation doesn’t take into account the various possibilities concerning Eddie’s reactions. I believe Eddie could have reacted accurately… (ok, possibly with a bit of guidance), but that what he reacted to is purely chemical and DOES NOT indicate anything more than a possibility without forensic back-up.

Like many have been saying, the indications of what the dog marked and where it marked are only corroborated by proper forensic examination.  There are plenty of valid reasons why the dogs may alert to a Cadaver scent, Martin Grime said so himself, when he said:

The dogs only alerted to property associated with the McCann family. The dog alert indications MUST be corroborated if to establish their findings as evidence.

Therefore in this particular case, as no human remains were located, the only alert indications that may become corroborated are those that the CSI dog indicated by forensic laboratory analysis.

My professional opinion as regards to the EVRD’s alert indications is that it is suggestive that this is ‘cadaver scent’ contaminant. This does not however suggest a motive or suspect as cross contamination could be as a result of a number of given scenarios and in any event no evidential or intelligence reliability can be made from these alerts unless they can be confirmed with corroborating evidence.

And I will continue to repeat what he said until it is understood that because Eddie alerted in that Apartment and to those clothes and the car it does not mean that Madeleine McCann is deceased.  And Carana’s last comment is what everyone has been saying they are NOT dissing the dogs they are merely pointing out that the dogs are only indicators, forensics and science are the evidence.


11 comments on “Cadaver Dogs – Casey Anthony Case

  1. Hi Carana, that was a wonderful find yesterday on your part.  Because the argument was tested in a Court of Law and the dog handler had to speak the truth.

  2. Hello over here. I only recently discovered your blog here. I must have typed to fast over on Headlines. Sharon should have read Shannon. A thought for her today, hope she’s doing well. 

  3. *too. LOL

  4. Carana, very thought provoking, if these people are under the illusion that a dogs bark indicates death then how can they be objective?  

    I was re-watching those 48hr videos, I will post them up later, and there was something that the investigator said.  He was speaking about time running away with you and how complacent you get as things progress.  As the days went on and everything was ok every other night they would have been more relaxed about leaving those children.  Instead of being apprehensive and clock watching as the nights went on they would have been less apprehensive and not watching the clock so much. They could have easily lost track of time and sometimes you think 30 minutes has gone by but in reality it could be closer to 40 mins or 45 mins.

    Once you change one set of parameters then it is a whole new ball game.  If by chance one of those time spans was 10 minutes longer than that gives a perpetrator more time to do his dastardly deed.

    • I’d agree, Bren, but for one niggling detail. The McCanns – as far as I can work out – seem to have been the most organized / routine-based amongst the whole lot. If someone had indeed been trying to work out when they were likely to appear… it would seem pretty obvious.

      • I would have thought the same as you, except Kate in her book openly admits that the time between their last check and returning to the apartment on the night of the 2nd May 2007 was closer to 45 minutes and not their usual 30 minutes.

        She says:

        As a result we went back to our apartments alittle later than normal.  It also meant that the time beween our last check of the children and our return was longer, closer to forty-five minutes.

  5. Bren, what I find most disturbing is whether anyone in charge of processing any new information in the local PJ has seriously considered the issue. Or whether dog barked = child dead. If that’s the case, can the person be objective re any potentially relevant information? Who decides what gets treated seriously and is passed on? And to whom? 

    And, no, the last thing anyone needs is a new wave of improbable sightings/visions/dreams. 

    But who is actually back-checking if some burglar/creep arrested in PT or elsewhere could have been in the area at the time? Or is someone just dumping anything and everything into a bottomless folder until a body turns up? I don’t know, and I’m not accusing anyone. Just wondering.My thoughts go out to everyone who has a missing loved one. Especially to those who love someone who has disappeared abroad, as it seems so much more complicated. And all this at a time when everything seems surreal, and anything beyond answering yes or no to a cup of coffee requires a super-human effort.

    I really do hope that this review process will help to find Madeleine (whatever the outcome). I also hope that the process could serve as a “good practice” example, leading to an international protocol for other missing people. Fingers and toes crossed. 

  6. Just thought. How rude of me. Thanks for allowing me to post and hi to whoever else posts here. 

  7. You are welcome Carana, good to see you here.

  8. Great discussion, very interesting and informative, thank you.

  9. […] And we know from the testimony given in the Casey Anthony case, that cadaver dogs can alert to decomposing material from a living person. […]

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