Scent Research
Burning Bottles and Bill’s STU-100–Arson Testing

Larry Harris, Bill Tolhurst’s partner in the STU-100, wanted us to experiment with scent that has been taken under less than ideal conditions. First, let me explain that the STU-100 is a nifty little invention that allows one to take scent off of any surface without disturbing that surface (or any other forensic evidence that might be there). The scent is stored on a gauze pad that is then kept in a sealable baggie. Larry told us to take a glass bottle and burn it in a fire. After the fire died down, he wanted us to use the STU-100 to pull scent from the bottle. Then we were to use that scent pad and see if one of our dogs could run a track that had been laid by the same person who handled the bottle prior to tossing it into the fire.

We decided to go one better and use two bottles–one glass and one plastic. Each bottle was purchased and handled by one person. Miles Dunn handled the glass bottle and Chris Dunn handled the plastic bottle. The fire was started at about 9:00 am on December 27, 2004. The bottles were tossed into the fire and allowed to burn. At approximately 2:00 pm, the bottles were retrieved by Linda Dunn and scent pads were made from them using the STU-100.

Chris and Miles then each laid a track. Chris’ track was in the woods and approximately 250 yards in length. He laid down in some tall grass and waited. Linda scented Caly off of the scent pad made from the plastic bottle. Caly hit the track hard and was jumping on Chris’ back in the tall grass before he knew what hit him.

Miles’ track was about 100 yards long and went from the woods down a gravel road. He ended his track in a large drainage pipe that ran under the road. While the winds (sustained from the north at 8-9 miles per hour with gusts up to 63 miles per hour) gave Caly a little trouble, she kept at it and found Miles in his hiding place.