Volume 47, Issue 3 (May 2002)
The Combined Use of Pollen and Soil Analyses in a Search and Subsequent Murder Investigation
This case report shows how soil analyses (particularly petrology) can be used in conjunction with pollen in order to refine or strengthen an association. Soil samples from a car believed to have been used by the suspect in a missing persons case was subjected to soil and pollen analyses. The soil characteristics and petrology were used to redefine the search area using geology and soils maps, the pollen and vegetative remains were used to target woodlands with a particular species mix. As a result two bodies were located and the environmental evidence was used in the subsequent trial. In this case the history of the vehicle was well known and the wheel arches and footwells provided reliable soil traps. The advantage of combining the techniques is that soil evidence (both mineralogy and other inclusions) provides a geological/soils match while the pollen provides independent evidence of vegetation type providing a combination that may be rare or unique.