Clandestine Grave Recovery (April 25-27, 2023)


This class will be held at Sirchie's Headquarters in Youngsville, NC April 25-27, 2023

SIRCHIE is offering a 3-day training class on searching for and properly investigating and recovering remains from a clandestine grave site.

The legal term corpus delicti means no one can be charged of a crime if there is no evidence a crime has been committed. In a homicide, the key piece of evidence for the case is the body. Perpetrators will go to great lengths to conceal a body, dumping them in remote locations, hiding the body under cover, and many times burying the bodies to conceal the crime. This course will teach the various techniques for search and recovery of remains from clandestine graves. Principles of search and rescue, death investigation, forensic archaeology and anthropology, and entomology will be taught and used in hands-on exercises. Students will learn how to conduct effective searches, proper protection and documentation of discovered sites, and proper recovery methods and techniques for remains.



Day 1 Lecture / Hands-On Activity (8:00 am - 4:30 pm)

  • Registration / Introduction
  • Fundamentals of Clandestine Activity
  • Search methods
  • Documentation
  • Evidence recovery methods
  • Hands-On Practical: Field Search Activity

Day 2 Hands On Lesson / Activity (8:30 am - 4:30 pm)

  • Review of Student Field Recovery Kit
  • Search and Discovery
  • Setup, identification, documentation of grave
  • Excavation and evidence collection of grave

Day 3 Hands On / Report and Presentation (8:30 am - 4:30 pm)

  • Excavation and evidence collection continued
  • Report Writing
  • Preparation of Presentations
  • Peer reviewed presentations

Your Instructor

Bryan Brendley is a faculty member in the Forensic Biology program at Guilford College and chair of the Biology Department. Prior to coming to North Carolina he served as a sworn state conservation officer in Pennsylvania. Bryan teaches classes on Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Cell Biology/Histology, Cold Case Analysis, bloodstain patterns, ballistic trauma, and drowning investigations. He regularly guest lectures at both Campbell University School of Law on expert testimony and at Elon University School of Law on Crime Scene Analysis. Bryan graduated from the College of William and Mary with degrees in biology and history, and holds an earned doctorate from The Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the AAFS, NCIAI and the NCHIA. He also has served as a US Navy spouse for over 21 years and volunteers his time regularly at the High Point Police Crime Lab.

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