Monthly Archives: March 2019

Forensic science program joins exclusive list for national FEPAC accreditation

Liberty University’s forensic science program has been awarded accreditation from the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), joining a list of only about 50 institutions nationwide to hold the distinction.
“Not many schools have the accreditation,” said Dr. J. Thomas McClintock, professor of biology and forensic science program director. “Securing the accreditation is great for our students. It’s going to make them more marketable and put them on an equal playing field with graduates from other (FEPAC-accredited) programs.”

An unsolved homicide haunted a city for decades. Officials say the killer was there all along.

On a cold, snowy night 45 years ago in Billings, Mont., someone entered the home of Clifford and Linda Bernhardt and brutally killed them.
The 24-year-olds had saved for years to build a home and finally settled down on the quaintly named Dorothy Lane in the fall of 1973. It turned out their time there would be brief and would end in unspeakable tragedy.

Uncle Sam surrenders to growing backlog of crime lab DNA tests

Report says that “eliminating the nationwide backlog is not a program goal.”

State police to implement online DNA kit tracking system by 2020

Survivors of sexual assault in Illinois will soon be able to track their rape kits online without compromising privacy.
An online sexual assault tracking system is in creation by the state’s Division of Forensic Services, according to Illinois State Police.

Nationwide DNA testing backlog has nearly doubled, despite $1 billion in federal funding

For 15 years, the Justice Department has tried to reduce the backlog of crime scene DNA samples awaiting testing at state and local crime labs. But despite about $1 billion in federal spending to cut the number of untested cases, the number has grown by 85 percent in the past six years, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued Friday.

Jack the Ripper identified by DNA evidence, forensic scientists claim

Researchers say they have finally unmasked Jack the Ripper, the infamous serial killer who terrorized London in the late 1800s.
A forensic investigation published in Journal of Forensic Sciences has identified the killer as Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber and prime suspect at the time.

Rapid DNA analysis accelerates testing of US wildfire victims’ remains

Some refer to “Rapid DNA” technology as a magic box. A machine tests DNA samples and produces results in as little as two hours.
It was used with some success at last autumn’s deadly California wildfire. And it’s being employed by more police agencies in the U.S. CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported from Denver.

A DNA Test Might Help Exonerate This Man. A Judge Won’t Allow It.

In “Case in Point,” Andrew Cohen examines a single case or character that sheds light on the criminal justice system. An audio version of Case in Point is broadcast with The Takeaway, a public radio show from WNYC, Public Radio International, The New York Times, and WGBH-Boston Public Radio.
Over the past decade, laboratories and lawmakers have expanded the power of DNA to exonerate the wrongfully convicted. Scientists can coax accurate results from trace amounts of DNA, even old or degraded samples. All 50 states allow post-conviction DNA tests.

A History of the Iberian Peninsula, as Told by Its Skeletons

For thousands of years, the Iberian Peninsula — home now to Spain and Portugal — has served as a crossroads.
Phoenicians from the Near East built trading ports there 3,000 years ago, and Romans conquered the region around 200 B.C. Muslim armies sailed from North Africa and took control of Iberia in the 8th century A.D. Some three centuries later, they began losing territory to Christian states.

DNA leads to arrest 34 years after Navy recruit’s slaying

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) – Detectives investigating the 3-decade-old slaying of a Navy recruit used genealogical research involving DNA to track down and arrest a suspect who was a one-time Navy training classmate of the victim, authorities in Florida said Thursday.

More than 1,000 arrested after New York, feds join to get 100K rape kits tested

NEW YORK (AP) – Languishing evidence in over 100,000 sexual assault cases around the country has been sent for DNA testing with money from a New York prosecutor and federal authorities, spurring over 1,000 arrests and hundreds of convictions in three years, officials say.
It’s estimated that another 155,000 or more sex assault evidence kits still await testing, and thousands of results have yet to be linked to suspects. Many who have been identified can’t be prosecuted because of legal time limits and other factors.

Study of old slave quarters in Maryland leads to scientific breakthrough

The study of a 200-year-old clay tobacco pipe discovered in the slave quarters of an old Maryland plantation, has led to a scientific breakthrough.
The object was found at Belvoir, an 18th-century manor house off Generals Highway in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Surprising DNA found in ancient people from southern Europe

Since the beginning of human migration, the Iberian Peninsula—home of modern-day Spain and Portugal—has been a place where the cultures of Africa, Europe, and the Mediterranean have mingled.
In a new paper in the journal Science, a group of 111 population geneticists and archaeologists charted 8,000 years of genetics in the region. They paint a picture that shows plenty of genetic complexity, but that also hints at a single mysterious migration about 4,500 years ago that completely shook up ancient Iberians’ DNA.

Stains on ‘Jack the Ripper’ Shawl Probed with Science

A controversial “shawl” ostensibly connected to the third victim of Jack the Ripper has turned up mitochondrial DNA, which investigators say shows both that of Catherine Eddowes—and the long-elusive killer.
The paper in the Journal of Forensic Sciences says that the mtDNA profile points to one of the most popular Ripper suspects—a Polish Jew who was committed to an insane asylum for good shortly after the crimes stopped.

Testing the DNA in Museum Artifacts Can Unlock New Natural History, but Is it Worth the Potential Damage?

Museums house a wealth of rare animal specimens, such as arctic clothing, medieval parchment and Viking drinking horns, but DNA testing can be destructive