Urban Investigations

FINDAR Speaks for Murder Victims

“Without that technology it’s possible that we would not have found the remains.” - Pottawatomie County District Attorney

With reports that the number of clandestine graves in Oklahoma was climbing, law enforcement officials decided to turn to technology for a solution. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) acquired a FINDAR GPR system to search for the burial location of homicide victims.

Previously, OSBI relied on a highly trained forensic archeologist to decipher a victim’s burial site. Now with minimal training, investigators can simply scan an area with FINDAR and locate hidden graves.

Samantha Weaver, a mother of two children, was last seen in June of 2012. After years of following leads the investigation narrowed and officials began to focus their attention on a particular property just outside of Shawnee, OK. A shed near the back of the property was of particular interest. The OSBI was called in and used their FINDAR to assist local law  enforcement with the investigation. 

FINDAR is a GPR designed by Sensors & Software Inc. for the  express purpose of detecting buried forensic evidence. Law enforcement agencies in Canada, the USA and Europe were consulted during the design process resulting in advanced technology that is both powerful and easy to use.

Figure 1: FINDAR used to search for the location of buried homicide victims.

OSBI officials surveyed the shed with FINDAR and were not disappointed. Under plywood and 3 feet of soil a body was  discovered.

Beth Green, a trained GPR operator for OSBI said, “It’s the most rewarding thing in the world. That is the whole reason why I’m in Law Enforcement, to help people and speak for people who cannot speak for themselves.”

Finding the body after 3 years is a significant turn of events for the investigation into the death of the Shawnee mother and will hopefully lead to a quick arrest and conviction.

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