Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze has called for more forensic tests before he decides to dig at the former Charles Manson hang-out at Barker Ranch in Death Valley.
Mammoth Police Sergeant Paul Dostie has worked with law enforcement, scientists and his own dog, trained to sniff out human remains. He believes in the need to dig for more evidence of murders by the Manson family, but Inyos Sheriff wants better information before that big decision.
In a press release, Sheriff Lutze said that the analysis of reports and information gathered about sites of interest warrant further solid testing on Barker Ranch and Myers Ranch before any final decision is made to excavate in search of bodies.
Sheriff Lutze said Myers Ranch is private property, Barker Ranch is National Park Property and both are compelling reasons to be as cautious as possible and use every reasonable testing method available before disturbing the ground with excavation.
Forensic experts, according to the Sheriff, report that methods are available to test the soil with minimal intrusion while being able to determine with a high degree of reliability whether bodies are buried in a location. So, forensic teams will focus on a very few spots, according to Sheriff Lutze, in which search dogs recently indicated possible findings of dead bodies with some consistency.
The Sheriffs press release says that various dogs gave inconsistent findings at many spots on the ranch property and all dogs were not controlled in the same manner accepted by recognized dog search organizations. The release goes on to say that the Sheriffs Office will determine whether to keep testing soil if the tests at the few hot spots fail to find bodies buried during the Manson era. The tests will be closed to the news media. Sheriff Lutze says a news release will be issued to report findings to the media, expected by about April 25th.