Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Casey Anthony Trial: 'Body Farm' Expert Testifies

Posted on


When Arpad Vass opened a canister containing air from Casey Anthony’s car trunk, the forensic scientist recalls that he “jumped back a foot or two.”

“It was shocking that strong of an odor could be in that little can,” Vass testified Monday in the Orlando trial of the woman accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

The prosecution witness is a senior research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He also does research at the “Body Farm” at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, which is dedicated to the grim study of human decomposition.

RELATED: Nancy Grace Sounds Off on the Casey Anthony Murder Trial

Researchers tested chemical compounds evaporated from a piece of carpet recovered from the trunk of Anthony’s Pontiac, where authorities suggest Anthony had stashed Caylee’s body after the child disappeared in 2008.

Several witnesses have recalled the foul smell. Also recovered from the trunk was a strand of hair that another expert says was similar to one of Caylee’s.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton asked if Vass believed there was a body in the trunk.

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

Vass had explained that he picked up the scent of chloroform, which comes with decomposition.

RELATED: Inside the Casey Anthony Trial: The Hidden Clues In a Strand of Hair

“The chloroform was shockingly high,” he says – higher than any levels he had seen in 20 years of experience.

The defense frequently objected during his testimony about the study of air samples, a novel area in the law. Until the Anthony trial, no court has admitted air sample tests in a criminal case, according to experts.