Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

I was writing about colonial America’s first enslaved Africans.

USA TODAY-The search for one woman’s family led a reporter to find her own roots using oral history, archives and DNA tests. It also led to stunning results.

A Fourth Amendment Framework for Voiceprint Database Searches

Voiceprint technology works by first securing an initial recording of a known individual. For example, a prison may ask an incarcerated individual to provide a sample voice recording; a bank may record a client once the client goes through an alternate verification process. The technology then analyzes hundreds of components of that user’s voice and creates a voiceprint, which is stored in a database and associated with that individual. When subsequent calls are made, the technology creates a new voiceprint and compares that to the known voiceprint to confirm the caller’s identity. This matching process parallels that of other biometric verification processes such as DNA and fingerprint matching.

Skeleton unearthed beneath California peak

LOS ANGELES — The climbers were closing in on the top of California’s second-highest peak when they came upon the grisly discovery of what looked like a bone buried in a boulder field.
Closer inspection revealed a fractured human skull. Tyler Hofer and his climbing partner moved rocks aside and discovered an entire skeleton. It appeared to have been there long enough that all that remained were bones, a pair of leather shoes and a belt.

Helen’s Law ‘may come too late’, says victim’s mother

A woman whose daughter was murdered three decades ago has said she is running out of time to find out where the body is.

Executed man’s daughter asks court to order DNA testing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman whose father was executed for murder in Tennessee 13 years ago asked a judge on Monday to order the testing of DNA evidence in the case.
The hearing in Memphis focused largely on whether April Alley can legally bring a petition for DNA testing on behalf of her father’s estate.

Playing Catch a Killer With a Room Full of Sleuths

At a forensic conference in California, law enforcement officials grappled with how to avoid destroying one of the field’s biggest innovations in decades.

DOJ Announces Forensic Genealogy Guidelines At Palm Springs Conference

It’s the largest DNA forensic conference in the world and it’s in our own backyard. The International Symposium on Human Identification is a place where the most respected in the industry can talk about emerging technologies.
The biggest topic on the agenda this year is forensic genealogy. Forensic genealogy is law enforcement going after unsolved crimes by utilizing databases through genealogy sites like

‘A serial killer off the streets’: Florida man charged in woman’s death linked to slayings of three others

A man linked to the deaths of at least four women dating back more than a decade has been arrested in Florida, authorities announced Monday.

New Version of STRmix Features Improvements in Resolving Profiles, Input Quality Checks

The latest version of STRmix™ – the sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously considered too complex to interpret – has been launched.
STRmix™ v2.7 builds on previous versions of STRmix™, while adding several key new features. These include the addition of a variable number of contributors (varNOC) for multi-kits and the ability to compare two or more DNA mixtures to find a common contributor.

Tuam survivors ‘pleased’ they can offer their DNA samples can be taken

Groups representing survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home have cautiously welcomed a new report which said that their DNA can be taken without the need for new legislation.
The report, prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon following a call from the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network in February, found that while the current legislative framework may not suitable for the collection of such samples, it could be done by way of a voluntary administrative scheme and without the need for new legislation.

Annual URI Forensic Science Series goes inside the mind of a killer

KINGSTON , R.I (WLNE) – The University of Rhode Island will be hosting it’s 21st annual Forensic Science Series starting on September 13th and ending on December 6th.
A few topics being discussed during these seminars will be digital forensics, cybersecurity, autopsies, criminal profiling, and DNA.
The annual series brings leaders in the field of forensic science to the campus and students, faculty, and the public the opportunity to learn about the science that goes into solving a crime.

Congress urged to renew funding for DNA testing

Over the next 15 years, nearly 200,000 DNA matches have been made by a national database after samples were submitted because of the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program. But now that funding is set to expire, so Smith stood on a podium in Washington on Friday morning and pleaded with Congress to reauthorize the funding before the law expires Sept. 30.

Under the Microscope – Nicole Novroski

De-convolution of complex mixtures can be challenging. Various improvements in polymerase chain reaction coupled with capillary electrophoresis (PCR-CE) and massively parallel sequencing (MPS) chemistries coupled with downstream statistical analyses have been developed and implemented to better resolve two or more person DNA mixtures. However, current genotyping outputs describe STR variation solely based on allele size and do not exploit the full genetic information contained within target markers to distinguish between or among component contributors.

Under the Microscope – Brittney Chilton

In her presentation at ISHI, Brittney Chilton (Criminalist II at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division) will share the story of Washoe County employee, Chris Long. In 2014, Chris was diagnosed with AML/MDS Leukemia. He underwent a stem cell/bone marrow transplant and volunteered to participate in a case study led by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division. This case study is ongoing and monitors the fluctuation of DNA profiles from both the recipient and donor in various bodily fluids and tissues.

Inside Afghanistan’s main forensic lab: Four scientists, one microscope

KABUL, Afghanistan — When a suicide bomber targeted a wedding hall in the Afghan capital last week, killing at least 80 people, many of the bodies were brought to a dilapidated two-story block on the perimeter of Kabul.
This is the Forensic Medicine Directorate, Criminal Techniques Department, the only functioning criminal forensic laboratory in Afghanistan, where a team of four molecular biologists juggles hundreds of cases a week, including victims of rape, drug overdoses, homicide, and bombings.