Cheif of Training

Forensic Anthropologist and Autopsy Supervisor


Dr. Elayne Pope is a Forensic Anthropologist and the Autopsy Supervisor at the Tidewater Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (TOCME) in Norfolk, Virginia. She completed her doctorate in 2007 from the University of Arkansas with a dissertation on “The Effects of Fire on Human Remains: Characteristics of Taphonomy and Trauma.” Her research focuses on how the human body burns in a variety of fire environments that include: structural, vehicular, and outdoors. Her research is unique since it involves the use of human cadavers that are used to model fatal fire victims in these varied fire environments. She consults with Law Enforcement and Fire Investigators on casework involving burned human remains and maintains a website www.burnedbone.com as an educational interface for investigators that need assistance with active or cold cases.

Dr. Pope is the Cheif of Training for Research and Training of the San Luis Obispo Investigation Strike Team (SLOFIST) Inc., which provides annual hands-on field training to multidisciplinary forensic investigators in San Luis Obispo, California annually. She also works with a research team who collects time and temperature data for each fire scene (~15+ bodies each year). The results are then disseminated back into the forensic community through lectures at state chapters of the International Association of Arson Investigators and as scientific presentations at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Results of this research have shown that the environment produces unique burn patterns to the body at different intervals depending on the fuel loads, ventilation, and factors that are unique to each fire. Her primary interests include the spectrum of heat-related changes that the human body goes through, what the investigator can expect to encounter at a fatal fire scene (accidental and criminal), and anything related to how the body burns, with an emphasis on the skeleton as physical evidence that survives the fire.