An Idaho State University Forensic Anthropology Laboratory Short Course

Planning and Executing Searches for Human Remains

Course Description: This two-day course will familiarize law enforcement and medicolegal professionals with the components of effective outdoor searches for human remains. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills for search planning and execution that can immediately be put into practice. The course provides 3.75 hours of lecture-based instruction with 8.25 hours of structured hands-on laboratory and field exercises with real human and non-human bone. Outdoor field exercise will include daytime pedestrian searches in two environments and a nighttime search using hand-held alternate light sources. 

Course fees are used to support operating costs of the ISU-FAL and to allow for continued access to free and low-cost services.

Learning Objectives: After completing this course, participants will be familiar with: 

  • types of pedestrian search patterns and the pros and cons of each

  • factors that structure search planning (e.g., purpose of search, manpower, expertise, scale, vegetation, terrain, time, equipment)

  • contributions of technology and other resources in a search (e.g., forensic anthropologist, cadaver dogs, probes, heavy machinery, ground penetrating radar)

  • appearance of the major bones of the human skeleton 

  • common dispersal patterns of human remains 

  • taphonomic bone modifications that influence the appearance of human remains

  • the use of a hand-held forensic (alternate) light source in nighttime searches


April 10-11, 2020

Location: Idaho State University -  Pocatello, ID

Time: Fri. 11:30-9:30pm

Sat. 8:30am-2:30pm

Cost: $150

Fee includes course manual, lunch, 12 hours of instruction, and certificate of completion

Max. enrollment: 16

Continuing Education: Approved for 12 hrs. Idaho POST and ABMDI credit. 

Registration Link:


Contact Dr. Sara Getz

Cell: 724-554-5119

Office: 208-282-2745

Printable Course Information

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© 2018 -  Sara M. Getz

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