Witness: Car odor due to decomposition

June 6, 2011 at 11:44 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., June 6 (UPI) -- A witness in the Florida murder trial of Casey Anthony, accused of killing her child, said an odor in Anthony's car could only have come from decomposing flesh.

Arpad Vass, a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, testified seven compounds -- out of 30 his lab has identified as significant in human decomposition process -- may have been present in the trunk of Anthony's car, as well as in a spare tire cover, paper towels in a trash bag, and other parts of the vehicle, CNN reported.

He said analysts were only able to confirm the presence of five of the compounds because they found only trace amounts of the other two, but he said that was sufficient evidence to determine a human body has been in the trunk.

"I can find no other plausible explanation, other than that, to explain all the results we found," Vass said.

Anthony, 25, is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie, in 2008. The state is seeking the death penalty.

Vass' testimony was a resumption of forensic and scientific testimony that began Saturday when other experts testified about a strand of hair recovered from the trunk of the car that showed signs of apparent human decomposition, the Sentinel reported. His technical testimony also included discussions about gases and chemical compounds indicative of human decomposition found in air samples taken from the trunk of the defendant's car, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

FBI expert Karen Korsberg Lowe said during Saturday's session the hair sample is similar to hair found on a brush belonging to Anthony's daughter, but she could say it belonged to the child. Lowe said she has testified many times concerning microscopic hair examinations, but the Anthony case is the first time she testified about a discoloration in the hair that is thought to be an indicator of death.

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