Clandestine Graves & Cold Case Searches Workshop

Group picture of attendees and their dogs

Photo courtesy of Dan DeVries Photography (

Recently we welcomed Paul Martin of HRD Specialized K-9 Training Est. 2002 to the Pacific Northwest for a Clandestine Graves & Cold Cases K9 Sar workshop.  12 handlers and their K9 partners from throughout Washington State, along with a few observers, went through a rigorous process to learn how to do a detailed search for the faint odors often required in old cold cases where teams may be asked to search for small bones.

A couple of days were spent at the Machias Community Cemetery and the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Snohomish County working graves over 100 years old.

Dog searching in a cemetery

K9 Kili searching in the cemetery.

Teams were also working parallel with a ground penetrating radar system on a real scenario at the Machias Community Cemetery and were able to determine that a grave in a family plot suspected to be empty indeed had a body buried there, although the grave right next to it was empty.   With this information in hand, family members are now able to make plans going forward.

We are grateful to the financial support we received from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation that allowed us to offer this unique, 4 ½ day workshop.

Computer screen view of the ground penetrating radar system

This is a shot of the screen from the ground penetrating radar system showing what is under the ground.

Man using a ground penetrating radar system on a gravesite

Paul Martin demonstrating the use of ground penetrating radar on a gravesite.

Dog and Handler Searching in a Cemetery

Handler Chris and K9 Makalu search the cemetery.