Bonnie and Clyde weren’t the only ones caught after a crime spree. The photo here of my neighbor, Patti Cole, and her two chocolate labs (note their names!) aren’t exactly criminals, although they are mischievous. Visiting with them, I am reminded of an amazing crime that was solved because of a dog’s nose. Not, as one might think, the dog tracking down the criminal. No. This was a feature about dogs that even I didn’t know about.
I saw the crime re-enacted on television many years ago and cannot, unfortunately, remember the program nor most of the details. But, in general, here’s what happened. A quiet young man had dropped out of society and was living in the woods, doing odd jobs when he could find them. Most of the people in the nearby town knew him and liked him. And if there was one distinguishing feature, it was that the man was inseparable from his beloved dog.
When he didn’t show up for a job he’d promised to do, the foreman became concerned. He knew the young man to be reliable. When he went to the man’s trailer in the woods he was shocked to find the dog standing outside the house–forlorn and alone. This had never happened before. A search was immediately instituted and the young man’s body was found in the woods. The police determined that whoever killed him had “staged” the crime to look like an accident. But who could have done such a thing?
One name stood out. Another man who often visited and was well known to be a drug addict. The police asked to search his prized possession, a fancy car. They found a few dog hairs but the man insisted that no dog had ever been allowed to ride in his car. He insisted the hairs must have blown into the car when he was driving. Without further evidence, the police were stymied. The one concrete fact they had was that the murdered young man never went anywhere without his dog. They knew from the blood splatter in the young man’s trailer that he had been killed there, but how did he end up so far away, in deep woods several miles from his home?
As the police intensified their investigation, the one man they suspected soon became their only suspect. Still, without blood or other evidence in the car, they were at a dead end until . . . one officer noticed that in this sparkling clean car, there was a nose print on the rear, passenger window. They were able to lift the nose print and match it to the murdered man’s dog! The police soon got their confession. The murderer had gone to his friend’s home looking for drugs. They fought and he killed him. He then wrapped the body tightly inside a shower curtain but he was unable to drag the body out and put it in the car because the dog barred the way. He had no choice but to put the dog inside the car with the body. When he unloaded the body in the woods, he hoped the dog would just run away. But the dog, evidently after staying several days with his beloved Master, found his way back home.
That’s how I found out that every dog’s nose is unique and as decipherable as a person’s fingerprint. Case closed.
For further information:
Dog Nose Prints Can Be Used for Identification (All Pet News)