‘A serial killer off the streets’: Florida man charged in woman’s death linked to slayings of three others

A man linked to the deaths of at least four women dating back more than a decade has been arrested in Florida, authorities announced Monday.

Virginia attorneys are getting a crash course in DNA testing to help them in the courtroom

It can be used to connect multiple victims to one attacker, like in the case of a man accused of raping six women from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg.
It can uphold juries’ findings from decades ago, like when a test confirmed the attacker in a 1974 Virginia Beach rape case.
It can exonerate innocent people and convict guilty ones — if the lawyers fighting to defend or prosecute grasp the science behind it.
But not all lawyers fully understand what happens when criminal DNA evidence is tested and how forensic scientists come to their conclusions. And not understanding the science could lead to trouble in the courtroom.

Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killers’ Hair

Those fortunate enough to have a head of hair generally leave 50 to 100 strands behind on any given day. Those hairs are hardy, capable of withstanding years or even centuries of rain, heat and wind.
The trouble for detectives, or anyone else seeking to figure out whom a strand of hair belonged to, is that unless it contains a root, which only a tiny percentage do, it’s about as helpful as a nearby rock.

New Version of STRmix Features Improvements in Resolving Profiles, Input Quality Checks

The latest version of STRmix™ – the sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously considered too complex to interpret – has been launched.
STRmix™ v2.7 builds on previous versions of STRmix™, while adding several key new features. These include the addition of a variable number of contributors (varNOC) for multi-kits and the ability to compare two or more DNA mixtures to find a common contributor.

Forensic science isn’t ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’: It depends on the questions you’re trying to answer

After recent criticism in the US and the UK, forensic science is now coming under attack in Australia. Several recent reports have detailed concerns that innocent people have been jailed because of flawed forensic techniques.
Among the various cases presented, it is surprising that the most prominent recent miscarriage of justice in Victoria did not rate a mention: the wrongful conviction of Farah Jama, who was found guilty of rape in 2008 before the verdict was overturned in 2009.

1.7-Million-Year-Old Rhino Tooth Provides Oldest DNA Data Ever Studied

DNA sequencing has revolutionized the way researchers study evolution and animal taxonomy. But DNA has its limits—it’s a fragile molecule that degrades over time. So far, the oldest DNA sequenced came from a 700,000-year-old horse frozen in permafrost. But a new technique based on the emerging field of proteomics has begun to unlock the deep past, and recently researchers extracted genetic information from the tooth enamel of a rhinoceros that lived 1.7 million years ago.

Tuam survivors ‘pleased’ they can offer their DNA samples can be taken

Groups representing survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home have cautiously welcomed a new report which said that their DNA can be taken without the need for new legislation.
The report, prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon following a call from the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network in February, found that while the current legislative framework may not suitable for the collection of such samples, it could be done by way of a voluntary administrative scheme and without the need for new legislation.

A girl was found dead at the beach after a bike ride in 1972. DNA helped police identify a suspect

(CNN)An 11-year-old girl went on a bike ride on Thanksgiving Day in 1972. The next day her body was found dumped on a rocky beach near the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. She’d been raped and strangled.
Police conducted more than 2,000 interviews and followed numerous leads but could not identify a suspect in the death of Terri Lynn Hollis until this year. On Wednesday, Torrance police announced a suspect — now dead — has been identified through a match made on a national DNA database.

Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity’s Ancestor, on a Computer

Now researchers like Dr. Mounier are using computers and mathematical techniques to reconstruct the appearance of fossils they have yet to find. On Tuesday, Dr. Mounier and Marta Mirazón Lahr, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge in Britain, unveiled a virtual skull belonging to the last common ancestor of all modern humans, who lived in Africa about 300,000 years ago.

Head of Public Security Department signs contract for ‘safe kits’ analysis

Use translation tool in Chrome or web browser. The Secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Elmer Román González , signed on Friday in the state of Virginia the contract with Bode Cellmark Forensics , Inc, which will be the laboratory that will analyze the safe kits pending evaluation in the Bureau of Forensic Sciences .
“With the signing of this contract, we will finally have answers for hundreds of people and families who have waited for years to be certain about a painful personal tragedy. Likewise, we will have the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for the commission of these sexual crimes. This is fundamental in the process, not only of doing justice in terms of law and order, but also of giving peace and allowing closing personal and emotional chapters, ”explained the secretary of the DSP in written communication.

This Startup Wants to Stash Your DNA on the Moon

Paying US $99 for a trip to the moon sounds like quite the bargain. But before you sign up, be aware that it’s likely to be a one-way trip, without life support, water, or even air. In fact, you can leave your whole body at home, because the passengers will be strictly molecular.

Annual URI Forensic Science Series goes inside the mind of a killer

KINGSTON , R.I (WLNE) – The University of Rhode Island will be hosting it’s 21st annual Forensic Science Series starting on September 13th and ending on December 6th.
A few topics being discussed during these seminars will be digital forensics, cybersecurity, autopsies, criminal profiling, and DNA.
The annual series brings leaders in the field of forensic science to the campus and students, faculty, and the public the opportunity to learn about the science that goes into solving a crime.

Forensic Proteomics, a New Tool for Crime Labs and Anthropology

DNA evidence has revolutionized forensic science in the past few years, cracking open cold cases and bringing both convictions and exonerations. The same techniques help archaeologists and anthropologists studying remains from ancient peoples or human ancestors.
But DNA is a relatively fragile molecule that breaks down easily. That’s where proteomics, the new science of analyzing proteins, comes in. By reading the sequence of amino acids from fragments of protein, scientists can work backwards to infer the sequence of DNA that produced the protein.

Congress urged to renew funding for DNA testing

Over the next 15 years, nearly 200,000 DNA matches have been made by a national database after samples were submitted because of the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program. But now that funding is set to expire, so Smith stood on a podium in Washington on Friday morning and pleaded with Congress to reauthorize the funding before the law expires Sept. 30.

200K rape-kits remain untested, but funding for backlogged kit processing is in jeopardy

WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Crime victims are putting pressure on Congress to keep money flowing to process rape kits.
The largest federal grant program, designed to eliminate the decades-old problem of rape-kit backlog, is in jeopardy.