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A Missing Person Body Recovery Case: Maintaining Professionalism & Best Practices as a Forensic Archaeologist Amidst Escalated Tensions

Author(s): Sharon Moses

Year: 2015

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Summary

In Fall 2012, I was contacted by a county sheriff's department in South Carolina and their Coroner as well as by the family members of a missing person, to request my assistance as a forensic archaeologist in a body recovery. A 54 year old male had been missing for nearly two years until a timber worker stumbled upon a human bone in the course of marking trees for harvest. What followed was a body recovery wherein I witnessed growing tensions between family members towards law enforcement resulting in misguided efforts by the family that compromised the search area. Insinuations of a police cover up and homicide were among the unfounded and inflammatory speculations introduced by previous search and recovery volunteers on the scene before we arrived. Ultimately, I and my crew became unwitting negotiators between parties to quell hostilities. This paper is an attempt to address issues of professionalism amidst tensions that have escalated and complicated a body recovery.

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A Missing Person Body Recovery Case: Maintaining Professionalism & Best Practices as a Forensic Archaeologist Amidst Escalated Tensions. Sharon Moses. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395383)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America