Bodies of evidence

Criminal forensics experts may be arriving in Mesa County soon, carefully examining multiple sets of human remains in the desert.

It’s not that some horrendous new crime with multiple victims has been committed here. Rather, the experts — and folks who hope to become forensics experts — will be doing research at Mesa State College’s soon-to-be-developed body farm.

If all goes as planned, the undisclosed site in the Grand Valley will become the fifth such body farm in the United States. Officially known as forensic anthropology centers, the body farms allow students and experts to study how human bodies deteriorate when they are left to the elements. The cadavers come from people who arrange before they die to donate their bodies to be used for scientific research. Or they may be unclaimed bodies from public morgues.

Unlike the existing centers, however, Mesa State’s will be the only one in an arid climate, allowing experts to study how bodies decompose in desert climates.

It’s a sound research idea. Making it available through Mesa State’s criminal justice program will enhance that program and attract forensics experts to this area for study and, perhaps, to provide instruction. It’s also something that, based on the unscientific poll on, has the support of a solid majority of area residents.

Our only concern is that undisclosed locations tend not to stay undisclosed in this community for very long. We trust Mesa State will take appropriate action to make the site secure, even when its location becomes well known.


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