It’s been called garbage and human remains, but no one was sure. Now an expert on human decomposition weighs in on what really caused the ‘death’ smell in Casey’s car.
Arpad Vass, a senior research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, also known as the “Body Farm,” was called to the witness stand in Casey’s trial for the first degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. “The odor was extremely overwhelming … I recognized it as human decomposition,” Arpad said of the smell.
In fact, the air from the small sample made him “jump back a foot or two.” The test results confirmed what he already suspected.
This is the first trial in which air sample tests have been permissible in a court of law, a science that some people call “groundbreaking.” Casey’s defense, however, does not feel the evidence should be allowed, since it is still relatively new and therefore may not be accurate.
“We were shocked. We had never seen chloroform at that level,” he testified.
Arpad and his team have been working for 20 years measuring the different chemical compounds released at various stages of decomposition on over 50 bodies. In Casey’s trunk, 51 different compounds were detected, including an abnormal amount of chloroform, a chemical released by decaying bodies.
In addition to the foul smell, a single 9-inch strand of hair was recovered from the trunk, similar to hairs found on Caylee’s hairbrush. Karen Korsberg Lowe, an FBI forensic expert for more than 15 years, testified at the trial,”It has a darkened band at the root portion of the hair … this is consistent with apparent decomposition.”
While the use of the air samples in the trial could be grounds for an appeal down the road, it certainly makes a convincing argument. Are you convinced she’s guilty?
Casey’s defense attorney, Jose Baez, maintains that Caylee drowned in the family’s pool and the accident was covered up by Casey and her father, George. Casey faces the death penalty if convicted.
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