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body farm

In March, WUSF was the only media outlet invited to join students and agents from the FBI on a visit to a University of South Florida-run facility where researchers learn what happens to the dead when they're exposed to Florida's elements.

But USF will lose its access to the site in a few years, raising questions of both why and what’s next.

USF forensic anthropology students and FBI agents learn crime scene mapping skills at the annual field day at the Facility for Outdoor Research and Training (FORT).
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Since 2006, the University of South Florida has brought together FBI agents and students studying to become forensic investigators for a field training day.

In earlier versions, they’d meet on the Tampa campus or on the nearby grounds of MOSI and look at how the bodies of buried pigs decompose in Florida’s climate. But for the past few years, they’ve actually had a dedicated field – and real human bodies – to study.

A bill funding a unique facility to help solve cold cases is starting to move forward in the Florida House.

Funding for a first-of-its-kind facility did not survive the Governor’s veto pen. That’s despite being named for an abused victim of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys.

A "body farm" where researchers can study how corpses decompose will open next week in the Tampa Bay area with the burial of four donated bodies.

Officials from Pasco County and the University of South Florida attended a dedication ceremony Friday for the Adam Kennedy Forensics Field, a three and a half acre patch of land on the grounds of the Pasco Sheriff's detention facility in Land O' Lakes, just north of Tampa.