Of interest to readership: A case of a missing child in which the parent is accused of murder. We have covered a number of missing child cases where there have been linguistic indications of death as well as cases of linguistic indicators of death coupled with evidence that shows likely death; yet, all in common for all of them is that the child's remains have yet to be found. We may "know" that the child is dead and police "know" that the child is dead, but what of a jury?
We also know that guilty parents and guilty witnesses will want to convince a jury that the child may still be alive, planting some form of doubt, as was seen in the perjury of Cindy Anthony during the trial of Casey Anthony. Cindy gave linguistic indication of the location of the body, had received the ashes of the body from the funeral home, yet deliberately wrote that Caylee was "alive" and being held by "Zanny" in Brooklyn, New York.
Florida prosecutors did not bring perjury nor obstruction charges against her.
If those responsible for the child's death can convince anyone that there is still "hope", the deception continues. If it goes to court, it is what a defense attorney will use, regardless of ethics or morals.
Defense attorneys attempted Wednesday to minimize key evidence from a cadaver-detecting dog in the murder trial of a Detroit man accused in the death of his missing toddler.
D'Andre Lane is charged with felony murder and child abuse in the fatal beating of Bianca Jones, 2, over a bed-wetting incident and then disposing of her body and fabricating a carjacking to cover up the crime. The child's body has not been found.
Lane is facing mandatory life in prison if convicted. The case relies on circumstantial evidence and is using a cadaver dog named Morse, who is handled by forensic canine expert Martin Grime.
Lane's attorney, Terry L. Johnson, said in testimony Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court that the dog's positive detection of human decomposition in this case, signified with repeated barking, is unsubstantiated because it hasn't been linked to a corpse.
Johnson, who questioned the forensic canine experts with direction from Texas-based police service dog analyst Steven Nicely, added that Morse didn't alert its handler to the scent of decomposition on Lane's clothing.
"You have no way of telling what Morse responded to," said Johnson, noting the positive detection hasn't been connected to Bianca's body or anyone else's. "You don't know if it was a positive or negative response."
Grime conceded a determination is usually made when something is found.
"The corroboration would normally be you finding a cadaver, bone or human blood that I could see," he told Johnson, adding that the dog has never given a false response.
Johnson has called the relatively new scientific method "highly prejudicial" and unsuccessfully fought to have it excluded from Lane's trial.
Grime testified Wednesday that Morse detected a cadaver scent inside Lane's car two days after the alleged carjacking. The dog selected the vehicle, which was among 31 others, at a Detroit impound lot.
The dog later alerted Grime of alleged human decomposition on Bianca's car seat and blanket as well as the girl's bedroom inside Lane's home.
Grime testified that the dog was accurate in tests before the visit to Detroit and after.
Grime has said the cadaver dogs cannot determine identity, age, race, gender or the rate of decomposition.
Rex A. Stockham, forensic canine program manager for the FBI, also testified about Morse on Wednesday. He said the English springer spaniel is regularly tested for proficiency, and while no dog is perfect, Morse has been accurate.
"I'm aware of no false positives for Morse," he said. "We've never had any case yet where the dog has responded and it's been shown to be incorrect."
Lane says Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis the morning of Dec. 2 when he was approached by armed carjackers near Brush Street and Grand River.
The vehicle was found shortly after, but the child was not inside.
Bianca's mother, Banika Jones, testified at the opening of the trial that she stands behind Lane and believes her daughter is alive.