Cadaver Dog has Great Nose for Cold Cases

Cadaver dogs help solve cold cases, find missing veterans and more.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: October 22, 2014, 11 a.m. PST

Dogs are often associated with police officers. They’re part of the K-9 units, patrolling with the officers, helping to catch the bad guys. Dogs are natural crime fighters. At the basest level, they bark at strangers who come to our doors.

But there is another kind of crime-fighting dog. He’s the one who uses his nose to help detectives and investigators find missing bodies. They find the bodies of the men and women who lost their lives in war. They find people who lost their lives in 9/11 or in natural disasters. And they find the cold case bodies, the people whose lives were taken brutally, often many, many years ago.


Cadaver Dog  

Photo credit Associated Press photographer Gregory Bull.

These dogs are called cadaver dogs.

One such dog is named Buster. The black Lab works with Paul Dostie, a retired police officer. Together they have found the remains of roughly 200 people. One of them was Army Air Corps pilot Lt. Robert Fenstermacher whose plane was shot down in 1944. He was finally laid to rest last year.

The family thanked Buster and Dostie at the services.

Buster, now 12 and missing a leg due to cancer, started young. Dostie noticed what a great nose he had and the two got to work.

Recently, Buster and two other dogs alerted officers to a well near the home of a 13-year-old who went missing in 1967. Even though the FBI has offered a forensics team, the cost of excavating and restoring the site ($96,474) is too much for sheriff’s department to undertake as of yet (the county board turned down the request; other sources are being looked into).

Buster, however, is still working.

"As long as he wants to work, he gets to work,” Dostie told Huffington Post. "It’s up to him.

More Cadaver Dogs


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