Author Archives: ForensicConnect

Nine people charged with sexual assault following testing of rape kits

Nine people are facing criminal charges of sexual assault as the Wisconsin Department of Justice continues to work through a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits.

Seattle bill may grant access to hundreds of DNA samples in murder cases

A bill making its way through Seattle’s City Council would land DNA samples from hundreds of convicted misdemeanor offenders in a federal crime database.
The federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database compares DNA samples to crime scenes across the country in hopes of solving cold cases or future offenses.

Under the Microscope – Jodie Ward

The Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) is the only human decomposition facility in the Southern Hemisphere. In April 2019, the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency DVI Committee (ADVIC) conducted a two-day national DVI exercise at AFTER involving 50 participants representing every police jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Defence Force, specialist forensic disciplines and mortuary operations. The aim of the exercise was to test the ability of DVI practitioners from multiple jurisdictions to deploy to, and process, a DVI scene and undertake remote post-mortem activities in accordance with INTERPOL DVI Guidelines.

John Dillinger’s Relatives Doubt Gangster’s Body Is in Indiana Grave, Say FBI May Not Have Killed Him

Two relatives of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger who plan to have his remains exhumed say they have “evidence” the body buried in an Indianapolis cemetery beneath a gravestone bearing his name may not be him and that FBI agents possibly killed someone else in 1934.

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.