LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - A forensics farm in Pasco County that is set to open in a few days was dedicated Friday to a man who touched a lot of lives before his sudden death earlier this year.
The facility, located near the Pasco County jail in Land O' Lakes and scheduled to open Monday, will allow law enforcement and scientists to study how cadavers decompose under different conditions. The field where this important work will be done has been dedicated to Adam Kennedy, who was the principal of Crews Lake Middle School until he was killed in a car crash on his way to work in January.
Kennedy's widow, Abigail Kennedy, said her husband wanted to have his body donated to science and she decided the forensic farm would be the perfect opportunity, making him the facility's first donation.
"He was a huge part of this community as a teacher for many years and as an assistant principal and then a principal," she told reporters after the ceremony, adding this is a way for her husband to continue teaching after his death. "He liked to teach anybody anything at any time and so the fact that this can continue makes everything a little bit better."
The facility, which is the only one in Florida, has received three additional cadaver donations and 30 more people have registered to donate their bodies after they pass away.
"The education that's going to go on here, the training that's going to go on here is going to save lives," Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
The cadavers will be placed the field in conditions such as underground, above ground and in a car.
"This is an opportunity to look at those questions that come up in real casework, where you're kind of puzzled or there's something unusual," said Erin Kimmerle, who is a Forensic Anthropologist at USF and in charge of the farm. "[You] recreate it as best you can and study it and try to come up with answers."
That means a lot to Abigail Kennedy.
"Doing this, you're able to help so many more people because a huge part of the program is to help figure out cold cases, which is answers to people who don't have the answers," she said. "I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of the answers in my husband's death, but a lot of people don't have any answers or any closure of what happened."