Exhumation Services

Forensic Exhumation Services

Dr. Snow has conducted more than 30 exhumations, 11 of which provided positive identifications of previously unidentified remains. 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.

The Nature of Exhumations

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.

Potential Problems 

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. Contact him today.

Without Dr. Snow’s expertise I feel we would have not been able to identify our victim. His expertise speaks for itself but his devotion to identifying the victim is nothing short of amazing.

— Detective Rich Lewis
Albuquerque Police Department, Cold Case Unit

Services Offered by Dr. Rick Snow

Expert Witness

Expert Witness: Testifying for the Dead

Testifies in Federal and State court to explain anthropological findings and procedures.

Identifying human remains

Identifying the Unidentified Dead

Works with coroners and medical examiners to identify human remains as the first step in solving cold cases.

Identifying human remains

Human Remains Analysis

Assists attorneys and law enforcement in the determination of trauma, time since death, and biological profile. Examines autopsy reports for accuracy.

Body Search and Recovery

Body Search and Recovery: Assisting Law Enforcement

Assists law enforcement in the recovery of human remains from surface scatters, clandestine graves, and wells. Examines documentation for attorneys to ensure mistakes were not made during recovery that could jeopardize the case.