Monthly Archives: August 2017

DNA Solves Mystery of ‘America’s 1st Serial Killer’ H.H. Holmes

The mystery of America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, has finally been solved. The NBC10 Investigators revealed new attempts to discover if Holmes somehow escaped his death sentence. His grave was dug up in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. NBC10 investigative reporter George Spencer shows us that we now know for certain where Holmes’ story came to an end.

Continued funding needed for DNA lab

Reduced federal funding for the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification comes with serious national implications — especially for smaller law enforcement agencies.
The National Institute of Justice has diverted grant funding that used to go to labs analyzing DNA to identify missing people and the unidentified dead.

DNA from headless torso matches missing journalist

COPENHAGEN — DNA from a headless torso found washed up on an island near Copenhagen matches that of missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, Danish police said Wednesday.
At a press conference, chief investigator Jens Møller Jensen said police had linked the victim to the torso with DNA obtained from her toothbrush and hairbrush. Blood found on the submarine was also a match for Wall, he said.

Execution of man who killed former Post-Dispatch reporter will go on, court rules

The Missouri Supreme Court has denied a petition to stop the state’s next execution scheduled for Tuesday.
Marcellus Williams is scheduled to die by injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the fatal stabbing of former Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle at her home in University City in 1998.

Despite Privacy Concerns, Miami Beach Police Testing “Rapid DNA” Scans on Suspects

For years, the FBI has been pushing police to adopt “rapid DNA” testing technology, which would let cops quickly obtain the kind of analysis that crime labs usually take months to pull from hair samples or cheek swabs. But privacy experts have long warned that the emerging technology could also lead to huge databases of DNA used for all sorts of reasons by the federal government or local forces.

Introduction of a dedicated Gibraltar DNA Database

The Royal Gibraltar Police are to be greatly assisted in the fight against crime with the introduction of a dedicated Gibraltar DNA Database.
Police have today announced that together with Cellmark Forensic Services in the UK they have established the provision and maintenance of a DNA Database, to complement the existing forensic DNA services already undertaken by the RGP.

National Institute Of Justice Releases Best Practices For Sexual Assault Kits

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today released a report on National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach.
The report describes a victim-centered response to sexual assault cases that positively impacts sexual assault response, the experiences of victims, and ultimately results in safer communities.
An NIJ working group consisting of victims, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse and medical examiners, prosecutors, forensic scientists, and law enforcement officials, created the report in response to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013, which focuses on the accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence in sexual assault investigations.

Three’s A Crowd. FDA Says No To Three Parent Babies

Just because you did something once last year in Mexico does not mean you can do it here. That is the message the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is sending to a physician in New York.
Dr. John Zhang runs the New Hope Fertility Center. The center, located in a high rent district of Manhattan, is in the business of infertility treatments which are generally not a problem. It is, specifically, fertility treatments using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replacement therapy (MRT) that were banned. Dr. Zhang started marketing this type of treatment through the website of his company Darwin Life (the website was not available at the time of this writing.)

Court reinstates $2.3 million award to homeless man who spent year in solitary confinement before charges dropped

A federal appeals court reinstated a $2.3 million award to a homeless man who spent more than a year in solitary confinement before the government dropped its charges against him.
The government charged Marlow Humbert with committing sexual assault and placed him in pretrial solitary confinement, where he spent nearly 15 months.

Latest tool that helped lead Charleston police to home invasion, sex assault suspect: a vacuum

…Chief Greg Mullen of the Charleston Police Department said the victim could tell only that her assailant was a black man. Detectives had no other clues at the investigation’s start.
But the special wet vacuum, which the city recently received through a $50,000 federal grant under the Violence Against Women Act, changed that, he said. The M-Vac system collects trace amounts of DNA and other evidence when traditional methods might fail…

State officials say 95 untested sexual assault kits sent for testing

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office said that 95 out of more than 4,200 untested sexual assault kits that have been sitting in evidence in law enforcement agencies across the state have been sent for testing as of Friday.

DNA samples from immigrant families sought to help ID missing, dead relatives

A special team of immigration advocates, working in collaboration with forensic experts, will be in Manhattan later this month to get DNA samples from New York City area immigrant families whose relatives are missing and may have died crossing the deserts of the American southwest.

Justice Dept. tries to shore up forensic science, testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is trying to shore up faltering confidence in forensic science and how its experts describe their findings in court, a push that comes months after similar efforts dating to the Obama administration were suspended.
The department said Monday it is reviving work on federal standards for forensic expert testimony, an effort initiated following revelations in 2015 that FBI experts had overstated the strength of evidence involving microscopic hair analysis in hundreds of cases dating back decades.

New DNA test identifies 9/11 victim’s remains nearly 16 years later

The remains of a man killed at the World Trade Centre on September 11 have been identified nearly 16 years after the terror attacks.
His name was withheld at his family’s request, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.
The announcement marked the first new identification made since March 2015 in the painstaking effort.

Sampling DNA From a 1,000-Year-Old Illuminated Manuscript

Genetic analysis could revolutionize the study of medieval books.
If their technique works, it could revolutionize the use of parchment to study history. Every one of these books is a herd of animals. Using DNA, researchers might track how a disease changed the makeup of a herd or how the skin of sheep from one region moved to another medieval trade routes. It’s part of a growing movement to bring together scholars in the sciences and humanities to study medieval manuscripts.