Diane Cockle


PhD (Arch),  2013


Sgt. Diane Cockle is one of Canada’s premier forensic archaeologists and one of Canada’s first experts in forensic taphonomy. An RCMP officer for 18 years, she has spent the last 14 years doing forensic identification locally, nationally and internationally. She emigrated from Scotland as a teen and earned her BA and MA in archeology at the University of Alberta. As only the third female RCMP officer to earn a PhD, her SFU doctoral thesis was the first in the world to comprehensively study taphonomy, the progression of human decomposition at a crime scene.

Sgt. Cockle is currently a blood-stain pattern analyst with the RCMP’s National Forensic Identification Support Services, where she provides expert opinion for crime scenes. As a forensic identification officer for the Robert Pickton serial killer case, she collaborated with SFU to design an innovative new forensic light source methodology in a matter of days that proved instrumental in revealing vital evidence. She is internationally renowned in a very male-dominated field, and has worked tirelessly in many dangerous locations around the world, sometimes made even more dangerous by her gender and race.

She has worked for RCMP-led missions that involve recovering and identifying victims of natural and/or man-made disasters overseas, and also recoveries that may be the result of war or terrorist acts. This includes identifying victims of the Thailand Tsunami disaster, investigating the Al-Qaeda kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in Niger, serving as team commander to identify victims of the Haiti Earthquake, investigating war crimes of the Rwandan genocide, and examining crime scenes and identifying victims of the shopping mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya. She also trained Guatemalan crime scene investigators to find and excavate mass graves of the ‘disappeared’ victims.

In 2007 she was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Outstanding Service during the 2005 RCMP Disaster Victim Identification Mission to Thailand. In 2013 she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her forensic investigation contributions to the RCMP War Crimes Unit in Rwanda.

Published April 2016


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