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Florida's First 'Body Farm' to Help Train Future Forensic Scientists

Photo: University of South Florida

The University of South Florida and Pasco County are dedicating a new outdoor forensic training facility, referred to by some as a “body farm,” to help train a new generation of forensic scientists 

The facility, the first of its kind in Florida, will bury human bodies that were donated to science in order to study how Florida's soil, weather, and other environmental factors affect the decomposition process. 

The project is a joint effort by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and USF's Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Sciences for the five-acre facility aimed at training both students and current law enforcement officers.

FGCU professor of forensic science Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney, who has lent her expertise to popular shows touching on forensics like NCIS and Bones, joins the show to talk about the sometimes-grim profession of a forensic scientist, and how such a facility can provide insight into how Florida's unique subtropical environment can impact death investigations. 

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.