Looking for dead, buried pigs in Leland

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Investigators work on April 25, 2019 to uncover pig remains buried in a field in Leland. (Photo: Renee Spencer/StarNews)

LELAND, NC (StarNews) — On Thursday morning, officers worked to excavate remains in a field.

Though it was just a training exercise and the deceased were pigs, the experience was as close to real-life as it gets.

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The Leland Police Department hosted the class in conjunction with the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s anthropology department. Planning for the course began last summer. In early September, forensic anthropologists buried five pigs on some town-owned property. Deputy Police Chief Brad Shirley explained that the course offered investigators the chance for unique hands-on training.

“It’s just something that you don’t deal with on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “It gave us an opportunity to expose our investigators, and investigators from other law enforcement agencies, to what could be potentially be very critical crime scene investigative work, and it gave us the opportunity to improve this skill-set for our detectives.”

Investigators from the Leland, Northwest, Navassa and Oak Island police departments and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spent much of Wednesday learning the proper techniques and tools used for the excavation of human remains. Melissa Torpey, forensic anthropologist with UNCW, led the class.



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