Author Archives: ForensicConnect

N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database.

The city has 82,473 people in its database. Many of them have no idea their genetic information is there.

Ashton Kutcher’s Testimony Could Potentially Find The Alleged ‘Hollywood Ripper’ Not Guilty.

Gargiulo’s trial for the two California murders and the attempted murder started on May 2 (he is being tried separately for the Illinois murder of Pacaccio). Even though there’s little DNA evidence in the three murders, the prosecution is trying to prove similarities in all the attacks, linking Gargiulo to the murders, saying he stalked and “thrill killed” his victims. The defense, however, is suggesting that due to lack of DNA evidence in the murders, it’s possible other suspects with closer relationships to the victims could be responsible for the murders. It’s Kutcher’s testimony the defense is focusing on, casting doubt on Gargiulo’s guilt for Ellerin’s murder, and thus all the murders.

Ancestry customer says he is glad his DNA on GEDmatch led to unknown cousin’s arrest for murder

ORLANDO, Fla. – When John Hogan was researching his family tree, he never imagined that paying for a DNA kit from Ancestry could one day help detectives to solve a cold case. The murder suspect turned out to be a second cousin he had never even met.

Human remains identified after 24 years in Wisconsin

This year, Grant County Coroner Phyllis Fuerstenberg reopened the case to see if identification could be possible with new technology. Fuerstenberg was able to obtain fingerprints due to new technology and techniques. The man was identified as Gale Joseph Byers, who was born on November 11th, 1938.

Kary Mullis, unconventional Nobel laureate who unlocked DNA research, dies at 74

The technique for which Dr. Mullis shared the Nobel in 1993 was known as polymerase chain reaction, called PCR for short, and it enabled scientists to make millions or billions of copies of a single tiny segment of the DNA molecule.

A Brief History of Forensics and Human Identification– Infographic

It’s no question that the field of forensic science has come a long way in the past few decades. Some of you reading this article may remember the satisfaction of pouring a perfect gel or the exact method for calculating the half life of the radioactive materials you’d used. If this is you, you likely remember the Frye and Daubert hearings that followed.
As we look forward to the 30th anniversary of The International Symposium on Human Identification, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the advances in forensic science and the people and moments that pushed the field forward. Some of these moments were triumphs in history, and others were times when the community came together following a tragedy. We’ve created an infographic highlighting these moments in time and invite you to scroll through history and perhaps down memory lane a little.
If you’re joining us at ISHI 30 this year, we invite you to celebrate history with us in person! Next to the registration area will be a museum exhibit showcasing historical cases, former technologies, and the people who helped shape history. We thank those who pioneered the field of forensics and look forward to witnessing what the future brings.

An Israeli soldier went MIA 37 years ago. International intrigue and DNA testing brought him home.

TEL AVIV — For decades, Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine has tested skeletal remains secreted across its northern border, checking whether the DNA matched that of Israeli soldiers missing in action behind enemy lines in Lebanon or Syria.
“From time to time they’d bring the samples,” said Chen Kugel, the head of the forensics center. “It’s body remains. It’s bones. It was always: maybe this time, maybe this time, maybe this time.”
There was never a match.
Then, earlier this year, a bag of bones arrived, and from the moment it was opened, it looked promising. The staff soon determined that the bones belonged to Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel, who had gone missing in Lebanon 37 years ago.

Federal funding necessary for clearing rape kit backlog

Congress has the opportunity to renew important funding for helping solve a critical issue in the U.S. — the number of untested rape kits languishing on shelves of police departments, hospitals and state crime labs.

In rare move, DuPage indicts DNA profile of unknown person suspected in death of ‘Baby Hope,’ infant found dead near Wheaton

On Aug. 15, 2016, landscapers working along Plamondon Road in an unincorporated area near Wheaton found the dead, full-term newborn in a backpack along the roadside. Since then, the DuPage County sheriff’s office has been investigating to learn the identity of the baby and what happened to her.

A Connecticut ‘vampire’s’ remains were found 30 years ago. Now DNA is giving him new life

After Barber’s grave was discovered, his remains were sent to the museum for study, and a sample from a thigh bone was sent to the DNA lab for analysis. But the technology of 30 years ago yielded scant results, the paper’s authors wrote, and identification was impossible.
But when modern tools were used – Y-chromosomal DNA profiling and surname prediction via genealogy data available on the internet – the experts said they came up with a match for the last name: Barber.

I gave my DNA away. Can I get it back?

A growing number of people are willingly handing over their DNA to corporations in return for learning about their ancestry or to get health reports.
Why are we prepared to make this trade with our most intimate of data and what are we getting in return?
And what happens if you want your data back?

Much-needed facility: At long last, Sindh gets own forensic lab

KARACHI: For the law enforcement agency, forensic science is an indispensable part of the toolkit when it comes to solving crimes. Made popular by its myriad depictions in movies and television series, most investigations nowadays would be incomplete without a forensics component.

RTP research group spearheads effort to clear backlog of sexual assault cases

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WTVD) — The backlog of sexual assault test kits isn’t just a problem in North Carolina, it’s a national issue.
And the effort to not only clear the backlog but also to reform the way sexual assault investigations are handled is being spearheaded in Research Triangle Park.

The Importance and Impact of Cold Case Units

Practitioners from across the criminal justice system speak to the importance of cold case units and the impact they can have.

New forensic pathology lab will be one of the biggest in the world, says Makhura

A new forensic pathology laboratory, which is currently being built in Johannesburg, will be one of the biggest facilities of its kind in the world, says Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Makhura visited the construction site of the new Johannesburg forensic pathology laboratory in Auckland Park on Thursday.