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Piece by Pi e c e

by Allison Gorman

An internationally recognized expert in forensic science builds a powerhouse program at MTSU


t was bitterly cold and growing dark—a terrible time to hunt for bones. But when Dr. Hugh Berryman got the call that a child’s skull had been found near Stones River National Battlefield, he knew he couldn’t wait for the luxury of daylight. Soon, snow would blanket what was looking like a crime scene. “There was no way of holding that site,” recalls Berryman, a research professor with MTSU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “It’s Friday night; on Monday I’m leaving town for a week; and snow is coming. I’ve got two days to make this work.” So he and his Forensic Anthropology Search and Recovery (FASR) Team abandoned their weekend plans and met on site, where detectives from the Rutherford County Sheriff ’s Department (RCSD) had secured the wooded area and were waiting nearby with generators and halogen lights. “Law enforcement doesn’t go under the yellow tape,” Berryman explains. “Our team were the only ones inside. We worked for hours.” Before dawn, they had collected and photographed a set of remains, later identified as a toddler who had been reported missing from her Smyrna home two years earlier.

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MTSU Magazine April 2011  

MTSU Magazine is the premier print publication for Middle Tennessee State University. Published by the Office of Marketing and Communication...