Monthly Archives: July 2019

Tom Cullerton applauds ISP’s efforts to eliminate forensic backlog

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) praised the Illinois State Police crime lab’s efforts to reduce the massive backlog of cases awaiting DNA analysis. This month, ISP posted 26 job postings for forensic scientists to get to work on the massive backlog of cases. Filling these positions will allow the agency to address the backlog.

Israelis develop luminescent forensic blood detection test

New chip device enables the detection of much smaller blood samples at a crime or accident scene.

Illinois becomes 8th state to lift sex-crime prosecution time limit

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday that makes Illinois the eighth state to remove time restrictions on prosecuting crimes of sexual violence.
The Democrat signed into law a measure that lifts a 10-year statute of limitations on pressing charges in felony cases of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Italian princess ‘inherits £400m artworks’ after proving who her grandfather was

Dialta Alliata Lensi Orlandi has won a 25 year battle after DNA tests revealed she is the granddaughter of art baron Arthur Acton

DNA bus tours New Orleans to collect samples for national medical database

You may have seen the colorful bus around the city, just as 62-year old Sam Frazzella did, and wondered what on earth was going on inside. Turns out it’s one of the largest biomedical research studies in human history, and its results may change medical treatment as we know it.
“I was coming back from seeing my own doctor for my kidney stones, and I saw this giant bus under the bridge,” Frazzella said. He knocked on the door and was told the bus was part of a national research program called All of Us, which is collecting people’s DNA from all over the country. The goal is to develop better treatment for diseases.

Lawrence County officials say 38-year “Belle in the Well” mystery solved

The Franklin County Coroner’s office has done a facial reconstruction on the skull of a woman found dead in a cistern in Windsor Township in 1981. The woman, throught to be in her late 40s or early 50s some 31 years ago, was strangled and dumped in a well with no identification on her. Lawrence County officials are making a last-ditch effort to see if they can learn the identity of the woman local folks have named “The Belle in the Well.” She had a key to a Huntington bus station, a bus ticket and a Jerry Falwell commemorative coin when her body was found a year or so after she was killed.

FBI Opens New Digital Forensics Laboratory in Massachusetts

(TNS) — A new Federal Bureau of Investigation-sponsored digital forensics laboratory has opened in Massachusetts, officials announced this week.
The New England Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (NERCFL) — only the 17th such lab of its kind operating in the United States — is devoted entirely to examining digital evidence, such as computers and cell phones, officials said in a statement. The facility, located in Chelsea, Mass., will also serve as a training center.

Launching the first statewide rape kit tracking system

In 2014, Idaho began a new journey in handling sexual assault kits (SAKs). I had heard the stories about backlogged SAKs coming out of Detroit, Los Angeles and Houston. Because of my role in the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, a national advocacy group, I knew legislation was on the horizon. Therefore, I initiated a statewide effort for an informal survey of kits at law enforcement agencies in our state.

A decades-old rape test sent him to prison. Then his high school girlfriend saw an old photograph.

The discovery horrified Detroit, and the nation: More than 11,000 rape kits were sitting untested in a police warehouse, in some cases gathering dust for decades before prosecutors stumbled upon the boxes in 2009.
One in particular had been collected in November 1997, when a 15-year-old girl came to police with a harrowing tale. After she left a store on Detroit’s east side, she said, a stranger lunged at her. He put a gun to her head and covered her head with a rag, then dragged her into an alleyway, where he raped her. A nurse performed a sexual assault examination, but the evidence went untouched for nearly two decades, until the untested rape kits became a national scandal. In 2015, prosecutors working their way through the backlog finally sent it out for testing.

Robert Ballard found the Titanic. Can he find Amelia Earhart’s airplane?

WASHINGTON & LOS ANGELES: Amelia Earhart is a name synonymous with adventure, bravery, and mystery. The famous aviator deftly traversed the world — and society — to pursue her passion for exploration…a passion that ultimately cost her her life. Earhart’s tragic end led to decades of speculation about what actually happened to her.
Now, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Dr. Robert Ballard, best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic shipwreck, is setting out to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The scientific expedition is jointly funded by National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society. National Geographic Society’s archeologist-in-residence, Fredrik Hiebert, joins Ballard and will lead a team to search for signs of Earhart on land following clues that may lead to the location of her bones.

Toe fragment could hold the clue to cause of Robert the Bruce’s death

The geneticist whose DNA analysis identified the remains of Richard III is turning her attention to a toe from the body of the Scottish warrior king, Robert the Bruce, to determine the illness that struck him down.

Ohio Innocence Project fights for eight years to free Milford man imprisoned for robbery

CINCINNATI — At 38, Kevin Thornton is trying to start a new life.
After serving 11 1/2 years in prison for a robbery he says he didn’t commit, he was transferred to an Over-the-Rhine halfway house in June.
The transition to freedom has been overwhelming.

Body found behind supermarket cooler identified as store employee who went missing 10 years ago

A body found behind a Council Bluffs, Iowa, supermarket cooler in January has been identified as that of a store employee who went missing in 2009.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Criminalistics Laboratory confirmed Monday that the remains were those of Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, who disappeared 10 years ago at age 25.

This forensics specialist worked with DNA from Angie Dodge murder case

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KIFI) – Her name is Francine Bardole. She is a crime scene investigator and forensics specialist. She works out of a lab in West Jordan, Utah. But that’s not all. She works cold cases nationwide. Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz talked with Bardole to find out the process she used in the Dodge case.

‘It’s essentially junk:’ $7.5M bite mark settlement underscores national call for better forensic evidence

MILWAUKEE — He spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Now, a Milwaukee man is finally getting justice for a conviction based on flawed evidence. His long-awaited day in court came amid a national effort to put forensic science on trial.
For decades, television shows have conditioned people to believe that people can pinpoint a criminal suspect with a shoe print, tire mark, or a single strand of hair, and they can do it with absolute certainty. However, the advent of DNA technology has proven that other forensic disciplines, once thought to be bulletproof, are susceptible. Those errors have put hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people in prison.