'Body Farm' approaches completion in Pasco Co.

- A rare type of scientific research center is coming to the Bay Area. It's called a body farm and it will be located in a rural area of Land O’ Lakes.

The farm will teach law enforcement about human decomposition by placing real human remains out in the elements and studying how the environment impacts human tissue.

That will help them solve murders.

Before the research can begin, the final preparations for the land and facility must be made. Inmates have been put to work, fencing off a field that will be the final resting place for hundreds who have donated their bodies to science.

"This is going to put the state of Florida on the map for what we are doing," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

The anthropology center will open next month on county property. It’s a very remote area of Land O' Lakes, close to the jail. Similar centers have been referred to as body farms, but this will be the first in the world set in a tropical type climate. Scientists from USF will study how bodies decompose in different scenarios.

"Florida has a very unique climate," Nocco said. “Be it a park, a swamp; this gives them the training."

Sheriff Chris Nocco says the Land O' Lakes community is welcoming to the facility. Some expressed concern about smell, and one man said it’s a bit eerie. Sheriff Nocco says, however, that the location is in a very secure, isolated area, away from the public.

The sheriff is also working to secure state funding for a forensics and tactical training center, making the area of Land O’ Lakes a hub for forensics training.

"You talk about Silicon Valley for computers. This could be the same thing for forensics," Nocco described.

Dr. Erin Kimmerle of USF will run the anthropology center.  She is world-renowned in her field, having studied human remains and decomposition in Kosovo and Bosnia.

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