How long could a cadaver dog still find a body?

For example: A body is burned in the woods, in the east U.S. Said body is moved after a period of time has passed. Would dogs still be able to detect anything 4 years later? At the original burn site?

(BTW, I’m not a murderer. Just a possibility in a local case)

It won’t let me edit. I meant to say east Ky, an area with typical four season weather. Unknown period of time before the body was moved.

First: Whenever I hear ‘cadaver dog’ I hear Ma Na Ma Na.

Cadaver dog
Doo-doo doo-doo-doo
Cadaver dog
Doo-doo doo-doo!

OK, now that that’s out of the way… Can cadaver dogs really sniff out 30-year-old remains?

The article says that researchers buried a >30-year-old human vertebra 12 inches deep in a 150 x 300 foot plot, and several dogs were able to find it. It goes on to say:

So it certainly seems possible that some dogs could detect four-year-old remains. Actually, four years doesn’t seem that long.

We get it. You rob banks.

Very interesting. And exactly what I was looking for, thank you.

Another question: Could a person’s throat be cut and not leave any blood? This would be in a house, and the victim immediately carried out in some type of covering, such as a blanket, rug, etc.

Especially if the investigating officer wasn’t very vigilant? And if there was blood, and had been wiped up, would it still be able to be seen with the right equipment/tests?

That’s right, Leo. And only kill for my man!

The longer the body was there, the more probable it’d be - as fluids would drain into the soil and decomposing gasses would seep into the soil.
Providing the body isn’t in the worlds biggest freezer zip-lock…

Thanks, Hip. It was wrapped in something, but I think it was more like a “burrito” than a ziplock.

How long will a man lie i’ the earth ere he rot?

So apparently the answer is at least 30 years.

I would have said it was pretty unlikely.

Luminol can be used to detect blood in soil for up to 6 years - probably more in an enclosed building/artificial surfaces.

I don’t know that they’d be able to find a 30 year old vertebra buried for 30 years 12 inches deep though; I’d imagine that the kicker is that the ground is disturbed if you just go and bury an old vertebra, while if it’s been there for 30 years, it may be effectively sealed off, or permeated with soil compounds or whatever that might make it hard to smell for a dog.

Hopefully the dog handlers weren’t aware of where the vertebra was buried. If they knew, they could have unconsciously given signals to the dogs.

It wouldn’t surprise me if cadaver dogs could find a body after decades had passed. My own Lab can detect from 20 feet away if another dog peed on our fire hydrant back in the '90s.

Trace material of biological origin can persist for a surprisingly long time. We recently watched a documentary on the finding of Richard III’s grave, in the course of which archaeologists came across a late-Victorian-era “thunder box” – apparently a sort of self-contained toilet – the stink of which was still evident even to human noses over a century later.

That a dog could sniff out human remains after a few decades doesn’t surprise me a bit.

That’s very true. No, the handlers didn’t know in the exercises that I’ve attended.