Famous anthropologist speaks at TWC Criminal Justice event

Posted on: December 2, 2013

TWC's Criminal Justice Society recently held their Ninth Annual Chili Supper Fundraiser where Dr. William Bass was the featured speaker.

Tennessee Wesleyan College’s Criminal Justice Society recently held their Ninth Annual Chili Supper Fundraiser where Dr. William Bass was the featured speaker. More than 300 participants were present to hear the renowned forensic anthropologist and author speak. This yearly event is held for the purpose of funding activities for TWC’s Criminal Justice Society, and in particular this year, the students’ upcoming April trip to Washington, D.C.

Dr. Bass shared with the chili supper audience the forensic autopsy he conducted in 2007 on Jiles Perry “.J.P.” Richardson, Jr., also commonly known as The Big Bopper, who was a musician and songwriter killed on February 3, 1959, in a plane crash in Iowa, along with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and pilot Roger Peterson.

The family of the “Big Bopper” desired to have his body exhumed and an autopsy performed to settle rumors that Richardson may have been shot or that he survived the crash. Dr. Bass's findings indicated there were no signs of foul play.

“There were massive fractures from head to toe,” said Dr. Bass. “He died immediately. He didn't crawl or walk away from the plane.”

Guest speakers like Dr. Bass are a vital piece of the Tennessee Wesleyan College educational experience. For more information on TWC’s Criminal Justice Society, contact TWC Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Bill Watts by phone at 423-746-5295 or by email at bwatts@twcnet.edu.

Dr. Bass has taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and now retired, still plays a vital role in research at the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, which he founded, and is more popularly known as “The Body Farm.”