Author Archives: ForensicConnect

Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program – Formula

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is seeking applications for formula funding under the FY 2019 Paul Coverdell
Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by providing States with tools needed to meet the challenges of crime and justice.
Specifically, this program seeks to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services, including services provided by laboratories operated by States and units of local
government.
Applications Due: June 4, 2019

A DNA testing site turned this woman from an only child to one of 30 siblings

ATLANTA –Shauna Harrison knows that every morning she could wake up to learn she has a new sibling.
In the past two years, she has already gone from living her life as an only child to discovering through a DNA testing service that she is one of 30 people that share the same biological father.

Governor Greg Abbott Appoints Four To Texas Forensic Science Commission

AUSTIN, TX (STL.News) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Patrick Buzzini, Ph.D. and reappointed Bruce Budowle, Ph.D., Nancy Downing, Ph.D., and Jasmine Drake, Ph.D. to the Texas Forensic Science Commission for terms set to expire on September 1, 2020. The commission provides oversight over Texas crime laboratories and other entities conducting forensic analyses for use in criminal proceedings and provides an accreditation mandate responsible for establishing procedures, policies, and practices to improve the quality of forensic analyses conducted in Texas.

FBI says that the teen claiming to be missing Timmothy Pitzen is not him

The FBI announced today that DNA testing confirms that the teen found in Kentucky on Wednesday who claimed to be a missing child is not him.
The teen reportedly told authorities that he was Timmothy Pitzen, who was last seen when he was 6 years old and his mother took him out of school early in 2011, days before dying by suicide.

DNA Mixtures: A Forensic Science Explainer

What are DNA Mixtures? And why are they sometimes so difficult to interpret?

Mystery of Karina Vetrano’s Death Ends With Murder Conviction

A Brooklyn man was found guilty late Monday of murdering a woman while she jogged in a Queens park, ending a two-week trial that had raised questions about coerced confessions, racial profiling and police practices.
The man, Chanel Lewis, 22, had confessed to attacking the woman, Karina Vetrano, in Spring Creek Park in August 2016. Traces of his DNA were found on her neck and cellphone, and underneath her fingernails.

What Testing Backlogged Sexual Assault Kits is Teaching Law Enforcement About the Crime

The effort to address a backlog of sexual assault kits nationwide has led to tens of thousands of long-shelved kits being tested over the last several years. The FBI Laboratory alone tested more than 3,600 kits in a four-year effort to assist state and local agencies.
The work being done to inventory and test the evidence kits is one part of the story. The other part is what has been discovered about the serial nature of many sexual offenders as thousands of cases are added into the FBI’s national DNA and violent crime databases.

Scotland Yard silent over top expert’s offer to test McCann DNA for free, as $20m police operation requests more public money

London Metropolitan Police are refusing to comment on a potentially case-changing pro bono offer by one of the world’s top DNA scientists to analyse important DNA samples linked to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance for a UK investigation which has cost taxpayers more than $20m.

Inspired by DNA tech in Golden State Killer case, Alabama police crack decades-old double murder

An Alabama man is expected to appear in court Wednesday after new DNA technology linked him to a decades-old double murder. Coley McCraney, 45, faces charges in the 1999 killings of two high school students, Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley. Investigators used the same technique that led to the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer.

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.