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‘Body Farm’s’ Bass speaks at Fox Den


Dr. William “Bill” Bass lived up to his pledge to make the members of the Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce laugh during his Aug. 15 speaking engagement at Fox Den Country Club.

“He really has a great sense of humor,” said Jerry Parkerson, a manager with TDS Telecommun-ications Title Corp. “I think the humor takes away from the gore of the situations and makes it more palatable for those not involved in the field.”

Bass discussed three different cases during his breakfast presentation — a murdered teenager, an elderly man and a woman eaten by her dogs — and showed the humor in the dark times.

In the case of the teenager, a Clarksville woman who was murdered by the nephew of an area sheriff, Bass told the audience one of the identifying factors was her shovel-shaped incisor. These are teeth common to most ethnic groups with the exception of Asians. The murdered girl had a Japanese father and an American mother, so odds were great she developed the shovel-shaped incisors. Bass proceeded to tell the audience about canine teeth and their deep roots.

“When you go home today you’ll be able to tell your husband you learned about the canine teeth and feel around the front of his face for them,” Bass said, eliciting a laugh from the audience.

Sondra Wood of Park Place Title thought Bass used humor in appropriate ways throughout his presentation.

“He’s a funny and interesting man,” she said. “This is my second time hearing him and his presentations are pretty

awesome. His stories are

interesting.”

Wood said she enjoyed the story and slides surrounding the case of the Williamson County woman who was eaten by her dogs.

Bass told of a 54-year-old woman who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Friends hadn’t seen her for a couple of weeks, so deputies were sent out to investigate and discovered her dead of natural causes.

“This is a case of the pets eating the hands that fed them,” Bass said. “She had a couple of large dogs and they had pushed a hole in the screen door.”

Bass’ slide presentation showed photos of the woman’s cranial vault, the upper portion of her skull without the face portion. The bones showed teeth marks from the animals feeding.

Bass said a few days after investigating the matter, a bank official called asking about a $7,000 ring owned by the deceased and covered by the bank. The official, Bass said, was interested in getting the ring back or the bank would have to pay the money value for the ring to the estate.

“I told her this woman was eaten by her dogs,” Bass said. “The woman on the other end was silent, as if wondering how she got stuck with the case.”

Intrigued, Bass said he asked Williamson County deputies to go back and collect dog feces. Needless to say, the police were less than thrilled about the task.

“Deputy Barney came in with a six pound bag of feces and a seven pound bag of feces,” Bass said. “He was grumbling about having to do it, so I though of a way to make his day a little better. I called over some grad students and told them to soak the feces in water and then we’d have to squeeze through it. Deputy Barney left a lot happier, knowing he didn’t have such a bad job after all.”

Bass said the real way to examine 13 pounds of fecal material is through X-ray examination. They didn’t find the ring, but they did find the screw from a plate the woman had in her arm from the repair of a break several years earlier.

Farragut resident Gertrude Olds, a retired teacher, said she came to the event to hear such stories.

“I’d never heard him speak before,” she said. “I saw this in [farragutpress] and I was on the telephone the same day.”

Olds said she enjoyed his sense of humor and his presentation, even the slides of dog feces with a painted human toenail in it.

“This was really a great event,” she said.

Bass told the audience the next book in the fictional set written by he and Jon Jefferson, writing collectively as Jefferson Bass, is due out in January.

“The publisher called this past week and wants to do two more books in the series,” he said. “Our first book made the New York Times bestsellers list.”

After the presentation, Bass spent time signing books and chatting with his fans.

 

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