Monday, 14 March 2011

Eddie and Keela in Praia da Luz – Matching claim and Performance

Article by Honestbroker.

In various places in the file, Grime makes specific claims about the performance of his dogs. Matching claim with the record from the file or other sources reveals an, at times, incongruous picture. About Eddie, Grime says:

The dog's olfactory system is so highly developed that it continues to be efficient at cellular level:

Distinguish the time difference between footprints to give a direction of travel.

Distinguish live from dead within minutes.

The first claim seems to be for dogs trained to track the scents of living people. Cadaver dogs, as a rule, are trained to ignore the scents of living people.

The second claim is perplexing, too.  For a long time, it was accepted without question on-line that the time interval between death and emission of a scent from a corpse detectable to a dog was 90 minutes. 

Then someone established the provenance of the claim, research in America on a so-called 'body farm', to which people donate their bodies after death for the purpose of training cadaver dogs, and also research.  A study into the very question of how soon after death a scent is released detectable to dogs yielded a soonest time of, actually, just less than an hour and a half.  But that was an isolated result.  The majority of all results yielded what the study took as the actual average time, 2 and a half to 3 hours.  So we can only guess where Grime gets his time of "minutes" from.
Grime says that Eddie is sure of the scent he is trained to detect and won't bark if he has doubts.  From Grime's profile, he cites this from a case Eddie worked on in Northern Ireland:
Page 2267

APPENDIX.... (To Martin Grime's Profile Report)


A missing person, last seen returning from church, on foot, in N. Ireland.
A missing person search did not reveal her whereabouts.
The search of a suspect's 'totally burnt out vehicle' by forensic scientists did not reveal any evidence.
A 'one minute' search by the EVRD identified a position in the rear passenger footwell where the dog alerted to the presence of human material.
A sample was taken and when analysed revealed the victim's DNA.

And in his rogatory interview, he says:
The dogs' passive CSI [Crime Scene Investigation] alert provides an indication as per their training and does not vary. They only give an alert when they are 'positive' that the target of the odour is present and immediately accessible. If they had any doubts they would not give an alert.
This is about both dogs.  The alleged scent from the 'cuddlecat' toy was, apparently, more accessible to Eddie when the toy was hidden in a cupboard than when he could see it, touch it and play with it.
Yet, following the inspection in the villa the Mccanns hired after vacating the holiday apartment, we read this from the file:

Following the search effected at Rua das Flores, 27, during which certain items were seized, this present inspection was performed, in a place appropriated for its purpose, attempting to identify particular pieces of clothing possibly indicated by the dogs, namely Eddy [that] indicates cadaver odours and Kila [that] indicates blood odours.

Possibly indicated?  The scent of which Eddie, is, apparently, quite certain might, or might not, have been detected in the villa, and so everything had to be taken up, relocated to a different venue (a gymnasium) and re-checked.

There is also research which suggests that sniffer dogs worked too hard get tired and are more likely to make errors; further, that handlers who have a strong reason to think that a scent might be present in an area being searched are more likely, subconsciously, to give a cue to a dog that leads to a false alert.
The second search of the clothing in the gymnasium was conducted in the early hours of the morning.  It is surprising and worthy of note that, during the inspections in the gymnasium, both dogs trampled over clothing they were inspecting and Eddie in particular picked certain items up in his mouth. That seems an odd way to treat items that might have held crucial forensic evidence. Perhaps that also, in part, explains why nothing reacted to during that search was forwarded to the forensic laboratory in Birmingham.

From video footage, it has been widely remarked how many times Grime had to call Eddie back to the Renault hire car before the dog, finally, reacted (we know) to spots of Gerry's blood on the ignition card.  Eddie simultaneously inspected 10 vehicles, and it seems reasonable to speculate that other cars, too, might have had blood deposits.  Could that be why it took Eddie so long to react (in contrast to the vehicle in the Attracta Haron case cited above)?  There were also the 'Madeleine' stickers on the back of the McCanns' hire car.

About Keela, Grime says:
'Keela' The Crime Scene Investigation (C.S.I.) dog will search for and locate human blood to such small proportions that it is unlikely to be recovered by the forensic science procedures in place at this time due to its size or placement.

I think we're entitled to ask how Grime would know.  However he does, Keela, apparently, reacted to blood on a curtain in apartment 5a they could find no trace of at the Forensic Science Service forensic laboratory in Birmingham.

Grime says about Eddie:
In six years operational deployment in over 200 cases the dog has never alerted to meat based foodstuffs.

From the file and the search of apartment 5D we learn:

Apartment 5 D

We've put the victim recovery dog through this apartment, the only interest has been in some food that he has found, other than that there is no interest in anything that he has been taught to tell me that he has found.

Eddie reacts to swine cadaver scent. That much is known. Many people have wondered, therefore, why he wouldn't react to meat products derived from the pig.

Lastly a point about Grime himself.  In the search of the vehicles in an underground carpark, he is seen on video dressed in the protective overalls of his trade, to prevent cross-contamination.  In the searches of the apartment and in the villa, Grime is dressed in jeans and tee-shirt.  Why?
According to one press report, Grime showed film of Eddie reacting to the McCanns' hire car (where Grime was correctly dressed) at a presentation before he was hired for the  Haut de la Garenne children's home job in the British island of Jersey.  If the report is accurate, the veil of sercecy still rested on the Madeleine investigation at the time, and so the video ought not to have been shown.