Exhumations

 

Dr. Snow has conducted more than 30 exhumations. Many of these were for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Exhumations are conducted for a variety of reasons, including to collect evidence for prosecution or to determine the biological profile of the decedent. Exhumations are also performed to collect DNA or other information needed for identification and to determine maternity/paternity of the decedent in order to adjudicate the validity of a will. Generally, exhumations are considered a last resort when all other methods have failed.

Exhumations can present myriad problems. Often the grave cannot be located because of inaccurate records or because it has been moved, particularly in cases in which the decedent was indigent or unidentified and was buried in a potter’s field. Improper use of heavy equipment can collapse the vault and the casket within it. In addition, in order to save space, cemeteries often stack caskets on top of one another. Further, in time all vaults and all caskets will leak allowing groundwater intrusion.

Each of these problems must be dealt with in order to achieve a successful exhumation. Failure in any of these areas often means that considerable time, money, and personnel have been wasted. Worse, the hoped-for results of the exhumation may be compromised. Dr. Snow has encountered each of these problems over the course of his career and knows how to achieve the best results for an exhumation.

 

Expert Witness

Dr. Snow has testified as an expert witness in forensic anthropology in both Superior and Federal Court. His expert testimony has been critical to the outcome of several high profile criminal cases. He has testified in cases utilizing his expertise in search and recovery, biological profiles, trauma, time since death, manner of death, and identification.

Unidentified Human Remains

Many forensic identification experts estimate the number of unidentified dead in the United States to be between 40,000 and 60,000. Since 2011 Dr. Snow has been working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to identify missing children. He has collected biometric data on over 100 individuals and conducted over 30 exhumations.

Body Search and Recovery

Dr. Snow is an expert in body search and recovery. In his six years as the Forensic Anthropologist for the State of Georgia at Large, he conducted more that 60 human remains recoveries.