Corpse research at Mesa State may have new home |

Corpse research at Mesa State may have new home

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – The nation’s first high-altitude corpse research center may be back on track.

Mesa State College is trying to acquire a new site for its proposed “body farm.” It’s a forensic research site where people who have donated their corpses are left to rot. Forensics researchers then study decomposition of the bodies to assist in police investigations.

The body farm would be the fifth in the U.S. and the first located in a higher-altitude, semiarid climate.

Some neighbors complained about the original site Mesa State proposed, and the school pulled that plan in March. Now college officials say they have a new site in mind, this one a mile from the nearest homes.

But Mesa State President Tim Foster and other backers aren’t taking any chances. College officials went door-to-door Thursday in the nearest subdivision and talked to residents about the proposed farm. The college is putting on an open house next month to answer questions about the research proposal.

Derek Wagner, the college’s director of strategic initiatives, told The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel that the college considered an even more remote location for its Forensic Anthropology Research Center. But that site was rejected because it had prior uranium contamination, which could have skewed the research.

“We wanted it to be far enough away from residences but still close enough for the users of the property to get to,” Wagner said.

Mesa State hopes to have the corpse research going by this fall.

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