Historic child homicide burial search in rural woodland

Jamie K Pringle*, Alastair Ruffell*, Kristopher D Wisniewski*, Ben Davenward*, Vivienne Heaton*, Luke Hobson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The cold case search for clandestine graves can be challenging due to the length of time elapsed since the crime and the search environment changing itself. This paper reports on a cold case search for “Christine”, a young girl who was reported missing in the mid-1970s in the East Midlands, UK. Once a search sub-area was determined by case reports and new intelligence in rural woodland, a police ground search proved unsuccessful. A multi-phased geoforensic search investigation, using remote sensing and UAV drones, metal detector, EM and dGPS surveys, was subsequently undertaken, with collected data processed and analysed. Results showed 36 discrete dGPS-surveyed metal detector and 3 EM priority targets to be identified which were all intrusively investigated but nothing case-relevant was found. Study implications suggest careful multi-phase remote and geoforensic investigations can give confidence in cold case no-body searches, saving police operational time and costs in such cold case investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100324
JournalForensic Science International: Reports
Early online date17 Jun 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Jun 2023


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