Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Is William C. Rodriguez III Really a Co-Founder of the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, Better Known as “The Body Farm”? I Thought Dr. Bass Founded It!


Things That Make You Go Hmm …

Yesterday, during the tumultuous morning  of the Casey Anthony murder trial when defense expert witness, William C. Rodriguez, was on the witness stand he stated that he was a co-founder of the “Body Farm”, or as it is officially known as the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility.With all of the attention being paid to the fact that Judge Belvin Perry admonished defense council Jose Baez for his intentional effort in going against the court’s order on discovery, was there something missed with regards to this defense expert witness’s curriculum vitae? Obviously Mr. Rodriguez has an extensive history in forensic anthropology, but  did he really co-found the Body Farm?

Defense expert witness: William C. Rodriguez III

Upon a cursory review, the only reference of William Rodriguez as a co-founder of the Body Farm was in a Wiki. Please tell me that Jose Baez and his master defense team sleuths did not use a Wiki as the Gospel? This would be as big a blunder as jumping to conclusions that Vasco Thompson  received calls from George Anthony, even though he ex-con never had the telephone number in question until 2009.

Defense expert witness testimony on direct from Jose Baez, June 19, 2011: (Watch VIDEO HERE on exact comments)

Defense Attorney Jose Baez: Are you a Co-Founder of the Anthropological Facility at the Univ of TN – also known as the Body Farm?
William Rodriguez:  Yes I am

Really? Every article and reference to “The Body Farm” has William M. Bass as the founder and no reference of William Rodriguez. Even the bio on the official web page of Forensic Anthropology Center only mentions Dr. Bass and no mention of William Rodriguez.

The program began with the arrival of Dr. William M. Bass in 1971 to The University of Tennessee Knoxville. He oversaw the development of the discipline at UTK, which culminated with the creation of the Forensic Anthropology Center within the Department of Anthropology, and many resources for students, researchers, and law enforcement agencies.

From the Anthropological Research Facility brochure, still no mention of William C. Rodriguez III.

The Research Facility, opened at its present location in 1980 by Dr. William M. Bass, provides an ideal setting to scientifically document postmortem change. This outdoor field laboratory enables the investigation of parameters which are crucial in time since death estimates. Donated remains make this research possible and simultaneously provide a modern osteological teaching and research collection.

In reviewing past articles articles on the “Body Farm”, there is no reference as Rodriguez as a co-founder.  The following is a Newsweek article, ‘Down on the Body Farm” from October 23, 2000, long before and expert witness testimony of the Casey Anthony murder trial. William C. Rodriguez III is quoted in this article

William Bass III, 73, the Body Farm’s founder, doesn’t find the scene ghoulish. “I see this as a scientific challenge,” he says, as maggots work efficiently on 20 or so corpses decomposing in the early autumn sun. Then Bass uses a gloved hand to lift a rotting limb.

Only 61 American anthropologists now apply their broad-ranging science to crime busting. Bass trained 19 of them. His graduates labor from the Smithsonian to the U.S. Army Central Identification Lab in Hawaii to major metropolitan morgues. Several have probed mass graves in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Body Farm alumni have probed many of the world’s trouble spots. William Rodriguez, chief deputy for special investigations with the U.S. Armed Forces Medical Examiner in Washington, D.C., led the U.S. medical team into Kosovo just after last year’s armistice. It looked at 300 victims from two different regions and provided the War Crimes Tribunal with evidence for the initial indictments against Slobodan Milosevic. “Most of the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition,” says Rodriguez, who earned his Ph.D. from UT in 1984 and remains in weekly contact with his mentor Bass   …  Without Bass and the accumulated research from the Body Farm, Rodriguez told NEWSWEEK, “I couldn’t have answered well over 50 percent of those questions.”

Other references of Dr. William Bass as being the founder of The Body Farm, not co-founder

  1. Slippery Rock University of PA: Forensic Anthropologist, Founder of ‘Body Farm’ Dr. Bill Bass to Lecture on Criminal Investigations.
  2. Herald Citizen, 9/2/10 – Body Farm founder to talk in Livingston this week
  3. Volunteer TV, 2/8/11- Body farm founder raises money for Anthropology students
  4. UT – Knoxville – Bill Bass, forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm, will talk about his book, “The Devil’s Bones and Other Stories,” at 2 p.m., Sunday Feb. 17.
  5. Cleveland Daily Banner: ‘Body Farm’ founder discusses importance of UT research site

What’s in a Wiki and can they be trusted as fact? The Magic 8-Ball says that signs point to “No”. In doing serches on line, we cannot find one place prior to yesterday’s trial where there is a reference that William Rodriguez was a co-founder of The Body Farm, except in a Wiki that was edited in 2010 by an IP from MD.  Interestingly enough, Dr. William Bass’ WIKI states that he is the FOUNDER of the Body Farm.

William M. Bass is a U.S. forensic anthropologist, renowned for his research on human osteology and human decomposition. He has also assisted federal, local, and non-US authorities in the identification of human remains. He taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and though currently retired from teaching, still plays an active research role at the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, which he founded.

Then we look at the Body Farm WIKI, or the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility which states that it was started by was started in late 1971 by anthropologists William M. Bass and Bill Rodriguez. However, there appears to have been an edit made in the Wiki in 2010.

The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, better known as the Body Farm and sometimes seen as the Forensic Anthropology Facility,[1] was started in late 1971 by anthropologists William M. Bass and Bill Rodriguez as a facility for study of the decomposition of human remains. It is located a few miles from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Click HERE or on pic for larger image

There is an extensive article from TruTV on the Body Farm and Dr. Bass’ efforts in dreaming up, implementing and founding the Body Farm. For those interested in forensic science, this is a fantastic and informative read as to what the Body Farm is all about. However, there is a lack of William Rodriguez’s name in the chapter after chapter of reading.

Check out the VIDEO below from 2007 from The Body Farm with both forensic anthropologist  William Bass and forensic entomologist Neal Haskell, Ph.D., M.S.

We have a question into the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility as to whether William C. Rodriguez was a co-founder of the Body farm. We shall await their answer; however, from what is presently available, it would seem like a slight embellishment at best. Would an individual, William C. Rodriguez III, who got their undergraduate degree in the 1980′s be a co-founder when according to the VIDEO below, Dr. Bass discusses the concepts and the beginning of  the Body Farm started in 1971.

This would seem like something that maybe the State and prosecutor Jeff Ashton might want to ask William C. Rodriguez about. One would think that of you were the co-founder of such a prestigious forensic science facility like the Body Farm, it would be referenced everywhere and when Bill Bass’ name is listed it would say, co-founder as well. One would think. However, putting up fences and pouring concrete does not a co-founder make. That would be a laborer and student who was helping out, hardly a co-founder. If Mr. Rodriguez did more, we would really like to see it. if not, Jeff Ashton best object to “Bolstering”.

By the way, where is the MSM in all this? Stop showing videos of individuals beating each other up waiting in line for the Casey Anthony trial and misinforming the public that Werner Spitz did some type of great job by dropping unsubstantiated BS bombshells when he was destroyed by the prosecution on cross and investigate whether there is some embellishments going on here. Inquiring minds want to know.

Hat Tip for contributions to Post: TurboThink, Klaas

If you liked this post, you may also like these:

  • Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Defense Expert William Rodriguez on his Way Out … Never Co-Founded the Body Farm … Where did WFTV get the Tip?
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  • Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Chief Defense Witness Bill Rodriguez Perjures Himself – OUT HE GOES – … Ashton Spits Out Spitz…
  • Caylee Anthony Missing:Results Show Body Decomposition In Casey Anthony’s Trunk
  • Casey Anthony On Trial: Caylee’s Voice Heard, Finally.. Opening Arguments Commence

  • Comments

    21 Responses to “Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Is William C. Rodriguez III Really a Co-Founder of the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, Better Known as “The Body Farm”? I Thought Dr. Bass Founded It!”

    1. A Texas Grandfather on June 19th, 2011 5:55 pm

      Wickie is a good starting place for information. However, it is subject to errors by those who contribute.

      Therefore, to use it as a sole reference is dangerous. Everything must be verified elsewhere.

    2. IBE on June 19th, 2011 8:59 pm

      Yes, the information on wickie depends on the credibility of the person who is putting in the information into it. Even I can change information, if I wished and might know nothing about subject!

      IMO A party of the Court should never use wickie as a reference. All information in Court should be investigated by investigators who know the ins and outs of online information and check and recheck all the information and credibility before it is introduced.. But maybe that would be too hard in 3 years, oh come on

      It’s one thing to defend your client; it’s another to make a mockery of the US freedom given by the Court system. .

      Why doesn’t someone bring up the texting in Court? To me that would be a way to get information to the attorney in real time by another, unknown by the Court, not sworn in and influencing the Court process in a big time way. I could be giving an attorney a game plan; information on the topic the defense team should already know after 3 years. Questions to ask on cross, all kinds of outside influencing information in real time. If i were Judge I would forbid it!! Sleeping in Court, you get kicked out. An outside of the Court person communicating with the defense attorney by texting and you get nothing!

      IMO the Judge is outstanding, but I do question the ethics of having in and out texting in Court.

      “Freedom is not free: it also takes ethics, character, accountability, responsibility and courage! Freedom for Scared Monkeys: donate to Red’s legal fees.” IMO my quote.

    3. Tamikosmom on June 19th, 2011 9:14 pm

      The following article implies that Bill Rodriguez may have been a researcher at the Body Farm since its establishment in 1980 but … nothing about “co-founder”.

      I hope this issue is addressed tomorrow at the trial


      World of Forensic Science

      Body Farm

      The Body Farm is more correctly known as the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Research Facility. It was established in 1980 by the pioneering forensic anthropologist William Bass and is dedicated to the study of the rate of decomposition of the human corpse under various conditions that are relevant to crime investigation. Many hallmark scientific papers have come out of the research at the Body Farm and this new knowledge has been crucial in driving forensic investigation into unsolved deaths. ….

      The facility began as a piece of waste ground close to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. From 1980, Bass and his team began to prepare the site and, in 1981, received their first body for examination. ….

      Researchers who have worked at the Body Farm have begun to contribute information that aids in determining time of death with precision. For example, the role of insects in corpse decomposition has been investigated by Bill Rodriquez. His observations back in the early days of the Body Farm showed that blowflies come to a body within minutes of death and feed on bloody areas, where wounds have been inflicted, or on moist areas like the mouth. After this, they go through their life cycle, feeding on the body, and producing eggs and maggots. This kind of evidence can be used in a forensic investigation, but had not been much researched before the advent of the Body Farm. A paper on this work published by Rodriguez in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 1982, went on to become one of the most cited articles in the field. …

    4. Cassie on June 19th, 2011 10:57 pm

      This is the Facebook page of the University’s Anthropological facility – “The Body Farm” It says here that William Bass and Bill Rodriguez founded it. (maybe because both of their names are William, Rodriguez doesn’t come up unless you put in “Bill”?)

      SM: All the information on that Facebook comes from the Wikipedia page that we believe was edited by someone to make it look like Rodriguez was a co-founder (klaasend). Look at that Facebook link, it even says it’s from wiki.

    5. Cassie on June 19th, 2011 11:02 pm

      Here’s another reference from a magazine article, and most of these publications are required to confirm their sources (I used to work for Penton Publishing so am familiar with that)

      “The original ‘body farm’ – the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility near Knoxville – was opened in 1981 by anthropologists William M. Bass and Bill Rodriguez.”

      SM: Yes, he probably took that information right off of wikipedia (klaasend)

    6. hope on June 20th, 2011 12:59 am

      I’m amazed by the work done at the body farm and the answers it provides LE and its investigators. It success is living testimony to Prof. Bass’ dedication and noone should take the credit for founding and/or developing such a program which, obviously, started years before Dr.

    7. hope on June 20th, 2011 1:21 am

      Rodriguis graduated from Universiy of Utah 13 years AFTER the program was founded and implemented by U of Tenn in 1971.

      I agree this information should be considered and investigated by the prosecutors for possibler impeachment of the witness…

    8. Scott on June 20th, 2011 5:57 am

      Cassie – open your eyes idiot.

    9. Alice on June 20th, 2011 6:15 am

      You can’t completely blame the defense and Wikipedia. Dr. Rodriquez directly testified he was a co founder of the Body Farm. I think it would be very interesting to ask him if he considers all of the students who worked on the Body Farm to be co founders.
      SM: A student a co-founder, really? Every article and publication has Dr. Bass as the founder of the Body farm, not a co-founder. If this is the case then I am the co-founder of many new start of businesses that I helped get off the ground floor. Needless to say, I am not.

      There is this little thing called due diligence that the defense is supposed to do with their experts to make sure their resume matches to what they claim.

    10. Moi on June 20th, 2011 9:11 am


      National Enquirer also “confirms” all of its stories. Just saying!

    11. skat on June 20th, 2011 12:05 pm

      I have a friend who teaches High School History. The school does not allow WIKI as a reference on Research Papers and such.

      Anyone can add/edit it. It just is not reliable.

      And recall, Baez tried to question Dr. Vass with questions he’d taken off WIKI. All of his information was incorrect. Why would he not check with Rodriquez beforehand on a claim so important?

    12. BlueWillow on June 20th, 2011 5:08 pm

      It would be one thing if only the defense had referred to Dr. Rodriguez as co-founder, but he testified to this himself, as well. I sure hope someone involved in the trial is looking into this. I would hate to think that a distinguished scientist would resort to exaggerating his accomplishments, that would be very disappointing.
      Inquiring minds do, indeed, want to know!

    13. Moi on June 20th, 2011 6:29 pm

      This may seem vile, but I’ve seriously considered donating my body to a body farm. That way my family will not have to pay for me to be creamated which is what I want anyway. So I see little difference. Scatter me in flakes, or one big piece. I couldn’t care less. I”ll be done with the thing!

    14. hope on June 20th, 2011 9:31 pm

      It will be interesting to observe court tomorrow to see how this information affects the proceding…

      Justice for Caylee!

    15. Casey Anthony Murder Trial: It’s Official, William C. Rodriguez is not the Co-Founder of the Body Farm … Some One is Bolstering on the Witness Stand or Worse | Scared Monkeys on June 20th, 2011 9:36 pm

      [...] as a defense expert witness in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, William C. Rodriguez III stated in the affirmative that he was the co-founder of The Body Farm. Who knew? The reason why we never knew, maybe is [...]

    16. melisb on June 20th, 2011 9:53 pm

      Thanks Red and I do hope you forward this right on the State! I’ll bet the State never even considered that a person whose testimony is televised would bolster/lie about their relationship to the Body Farm to that degree. If there is a reasonable explanation he needs to get on the stand and testify to such! Thanks Klaas and Turbo! Great Monkeys!

    17. NancyB on June 21st, 2011 10:41 pm

      Great work! This pompous man told another lie under oath to Judge Perry when he told him that he had not been informed about the necessity of a written report and then moments later capitulated to Jose’s inquiry about receiving an email explaining this from Baez.

    18. Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Defense Expert William Rodriguez on his Way Out … Never Co-Founded the Body Farm … Where did WFTV get the Tip? | Scared Monkeys on June 23rd, 2011 7:39 am

      [...] of the Body Farm, the questioning antenna was raised my myself and many at Scared Monkeys … REALLY? The sleuth hats went on and a tremendous amount of research was done, not speculation and [...]

    19. Charles on June 28th, 2011 1:06 pm

      Bass and Rodriguez both have a history of doing single experiments with pre-determined outcomes. The tests always give the answer espected (SURPRISE!). They never can pass Daubert standards. It is not unusual that they embellish their testimony.

    20. Amanda Moore on January 24th, 2012 10:58 am

      I am so glad you put this out in the open, the guy lied to the court!

    21. Jessica Nicholson on September 12th, 2013 2:06 pm

      I have read Dr. Bass’ book “Death’s Acre” a couple of times. In case you are not familiar with it, the book is told in his own words and centers on the Body Farm, how it developed from a mere idea into a full-blown scientific treasure. Bill Rodriguez is mentioned many times in this book. It is my understanding that he was a graduate student studying at the body farm in it’s infancy. He not only conducted some pivotal research there, but assisted Dr. Bass during those crucial years when the body farm was first being formed. So although the term “co-founder” might be a little strong, I wouldn’t say it is inaccurate. I think he contributed a great deal to the initial formation of the Anthropology Research Facility. Regardless of what his “title” was, his efforts and influence were very significant and I think his credentials for the purposes of this trial were rock solid.

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