WATCH: Answering questions about Virginia’s newest body farm

There are only 8 body farms in the country

A new body farm is helping investigators with solving crimes, getting justice, and evolving forensic science. (Copyright 2023 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

ROANOKE, Va. – We’re sitting down with forensic science experts to answer your questions about what happens at the George Mason University body farm and what it means for the future of solving crimes. You can watch it by clicking the play button on the video below or going to this link here.

Donating your body to science could help solve crimes all over the country.

There are only eight body farms in the country. The research that happens inside the locked gates at the George Mason University body farm in Manassas, Virginia, is fascinating.

Here’s who we talked to:

  • Mary Ellen O’Toole: A former FBI profiler who has interviewed serial killers all over the country. She is now the Forensic Science Program Director at George Mason University.
  • Emily Rancourt: A former crime scene specialist with the Prince William County Police Department who used to investigate homicides, suicides, suspicious deaths, and any crime scene with a life-threatening injury where they didn’t know if the victims were going to live or die. She’s now the program’s associate director.
  • Chris Durac: A former GMU student, who now works for the college as the Forensic Science Project Manager. He oversees the crime scene house where students get hands-on experience investigating and using the tools the professionals use.

This article is part of “Solutionaries,” our continuing commitment to solutions journalism, highlighting the creative people in communities working to make the world a better place, one solution at a time. Find out what you can do to help at

About the Author:

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.