Students help search for missing person
Forty Towson students searched through wet and hilly terrain of Tennessee looking for evidence of body remains in the case of the missing person.
In the world of investigation and discovery, the Forensic Science Student Organization is making great strides in preparing students for futures in the fields of science, criminal investigation and criminal justice.
Dana Kollmann, teacher and head of FSSO, took students on the trip to Tennessee to conduct field searches for on missing persons cases.
FSSO mainly worked with the Henry County Sheriffs’ Department and the canine search and rescue team. The search lasted for four days.
According to Kollmann, body remains are not just “lying underneath a bush.”
Animals and weather can extremely affect the location of the remains, Kollmann said. Animals are known for dragging bones, which leads to scattered body remains. The students had to use mapping skills to navigate their way through the Tennessee terrain.
Specifically, students worked with the mother of Rachel Conger. The field search was an eye-opener, Maggi Smith, graduate student studying forensic science, said.
“It was an emotional experience working with a case involving a mother and child,” Smith said.
Many forensic science students spend time processing evidence in a lab, but the reality of the situation becomes alive in these field searches, she said. Working at the crime scene provided valuable field experience.
Even though no remains were recovered, possible evidence was found and taken into the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
FSSO got its start in 2010 when Kollmann took her students on a field case in Vermont to find the remains of Michael Hogan. When the group is not conducting field searches, they are attending meeting and events.
The requirements for the group include an interest in the forensic science field and an appreciation for uncovering and studying evidence that could possibly lead to benefiting real-life cases.
Field searches provide experience in science, photography and mapping.
“I will definitely take advantage of everything the group has to offer in the future,” sociology major Nadine Wilder said.
The group has conducted six field searches total, however, there are many more cases that come into the science lab at Towson University.