FBI agents learn to dig up evidence at a crime scene

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FBI agents around the country were brought to Knoxville for human recovery training at the University of Tennessee, a training like no other.

"It could be anything from fingerprints, to DNA, to blood splatter, to human remains, to post blast investigations," said Leslie Kopper, Special Agent with the FBI.

Kopper is one of 40 Evidence Response Team members from the FBI. She was selected to participate in a five-day,short course. The annual training is centered around uncovering evidence from a crime scene.

"What they're teaching us is the difference between a bone or a stone or a rock or a rib-bone, versus a tree or branch or something like that," said Kopper.

The team is on day four of the course. It is taking place at the University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Center, commonly known as the Body Farm. Agents conducted excavation of human remains and collected botanical and insect evidence, among others. One of they key elements in this process is knowing where to begin looking for evidence.

"They teach us indicators in the area," said Kopper. "It might be vegetation; it might be disturbances," she added.

"This is a great resource and unique opportunity to have this to our agents and our evidence response teams," said Marshall Stone, Chief Division Counsel for the FBI.

Stone said the real-world experience will influence the way each agent performs in the field. He said he looks forward to sending more candidates to the short course next year.

"Having people come out here to receive training from experts in the field as well as as the practical experience actually locating and recovering human remains for evidence purposes makes us better at our job," said Stone.

The training session marked the 17th annual course offered to the FBI agents. Candidates are selected based off their experience, seniority and credentials. The course ends Friday, March 18.