If in a word association game you were told to say the first thing that
popped into your mind when hearing the phrase “crime solving animal”,
chances are “Scooby Doo” or even “police dogs”
might list among potential answers. You may be surprised to know that
a multitude of animals have played a huge part in solving cases—sometimes
by heroically defending their owner and sometimes by just being their
normal furry selves.
Take a look at a few animals who assisted crime scene investigators in
putting the culprits behind bars.
For years, dogs have been touted as man’s best friend. Unfortunately,
this occasionally results in the overlooking of other species who deserve
a similar title for their faithful companionship. One such deserving animal
was an 18-inch white-crested cockatoo named Bird. Bird proved his love
and loyalty by trying to fight off two men who broke into his house and
began to stab his owner. Sadly, the pair did not survive and the murderers
escaped the crime scene. When investigators arrived, it became apparent
that the cockatoo had died defending his owner, but not before inflicting
damage on the culprits. Blood found on Bird’s beak and claws was
traced to two brothers who later admitted their guilt.
Elementary My Deer
Sometimes, animals even have the ability to contribute to a case post-mortem.
Once, a cold case was solved with some cold cuts—of frozen venison
to be exact. In 1997, a Pennsylvania hunter was found dead in the woods
after being shot in the back. Two piles of deer entrails were found nearby,
but only one doe. One of the suspects was found with venison in his freezer,
though he denied having gone into the woods that day. Police gathered
DNA from the deer entrails as well as samples from the frozen meat, but
the technology at the time couldn’t confirm the two were the same.
Later in 2004, the case was re-opened and a lab concluded the samples
shared the same DNA. The match, plus testimonies confirming the suspect's
spoken desire to kill the victim, aided in the conviction of the criminal.
Cat Got Your Tongue?
Another lesser known case in which an animal provided crucial evidence
to an investigation involved a deadly murderer and his cat. In 2012, a
murder victim was found on Southsea Beach in England wrapped in a curtain.
Upon taking a closer look at the curtain itself, investigators found eight
cat hairs of evidence. At the time, the UK did not have a system in place
to thoroughly test the hairs, so it was sent to a DNA forensics unit in
California who concluded that the hair belonged to the cat of a suspect
in the case. This combined with other evidence was more than enough to
convict the suspect of murder. The cat’s hair not only put a criminal
behind bars, but also instigated the UK’s very own feline hair database
to be used in future investigations.
Even Pet Detectives Need a Watson
Even details as small as cat hairs can make a world of difference when
investigating crime scenes. At CSI Academy of Florida, you can learn how
to find answers and sift through evidence (no matter how odd) to help
determine a just verdict in a case. Our academy proudly holds students
to the highest standards when handling investigations, and is dedicated
to training skilled forensic scientists and thorough crime scene investigators.
Interested in learning more? Check out our courses
or call us today!