Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

Convicted serial killer known as the ‘Grim Sleeper’ found dead in prison cell

(CNN)A convicted serial killer, who murdered and preyed on women in California over a span of three decades, died over the weekend at San Quentin State Prison.
Lonnie Franklin, known as the “Grim Sleeper,” was found unresponsive in his cell Saturday night, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Genealogy company MyHeritage donates 66,000 swabs to Israel

The shipment of swabs is expected to arrive in Israel Monday, said Gilad Japhet, CEO and founder of MyHeritage.

HSC Fort Worth to help identify missing and murdered American Indians

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) and Montana State University Billings are collaborating to use forensics to address a national epidemic of missing or murdered American Indians, HSC said in a news release.
Through the agreement, the HSC-based UNT Center for Human Identification and MSU Billings will establish forensic capabilities to use DNA to resolve missing person cases, solve crimes and help prevent human trafficking.

Increase Samples, Reduce Waste

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State lab stays open over weekend, ramps up testing for COVID-19 coronavirus

With hundreds of coronavirus test specimens now coming in daily to UW-Madison’s Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, the lab stayed open over the weekend and has more than tripled its capacity.

Wisconsin Crime Labs use new DNA analysis program

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Starting this year, Wisconsin State Crime Labs are using software that untangles the web of DNA left at a crime scene.

Scots forensics expert says defence lawyers should be able to see secret police DNA files

Scotland is the only country in the civilised world where lawyers are denied access to this key evidence.

Rapid DNA Test Quickly Identifies Victims of Mass Casualty Event

To quickly identify victims of the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, researchers used a technique called Rapid DNA Identification that can provide results within hours, compared with months to years required of conventional DNA analysis.

The wear patterns of your jeans aren’t good forensic evidence

Is every pair of jeans like no other? According to the testimony of FBI forensic analysts, the patterns seen on denim are reliably unique and can be used to identify a suspect in surveillance footage.
The problem is, this technique has never been subjected to thorough scrutiny, and evidence acquired through it may not be as strong as it has been claimed to be. A paper published in PNAS this week puts denim-pattern analysis through its paces, finding that it isn’t particularly good at matching up identical pairs of jeans—and may create a number of “false alarm” errors to boot.

Cutbacks by Ancestry, 23andMe Signal a Shakeout for DNA Industry

(Bloomberg) — Consumer DNA-testing firms are closing up shop and cutting jobs, as a lull in sales forces the industry to move beyond the genealogy tests that turned a handful of well-funded companies into household names.
At least three companies have closed down or suspended their operations over the past year, while the two DNA-testing bellwethers, Ancestry.com LLC and 23andMe Inc., each cut approximately 100 jobs in recent weeks. Others have pulled tests from the market thanks to slow sales.

FDLE, Leon County Sheriff’s Office unveil nation’s first automated rapid DNA collection

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement along with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday a new process being used at the Leon County Detention Facility.

Woodlands-Based Biotech Company is Helping Solve America’s Cold Cases

Othram uses advanced DNA sequencing and proprietary software to enable human identification applications from degraded and often scare forensic DNA evidence. The company has built the first and only private laboratory to apply the power of modern genome sequencing in a forensic environment.

DNA match leads to arrest in 2004 sexual assault

“After 16 years, you either think your suspect is deceased or they’re already serving a prison term where it wasn’t required to collect their DNA,” said Mountain View Police Capt. Jessica Nowaski in an interview Friday. “I’m just really excited that we were able to bring closure to our victim.”

FBI could hold the key to a notorious Texas cold case. But the info isn’t being released.

AUSTIN — The FBI could hold the key to solving one of the most notorious cold cases in Texas history, but the federal agency won’t release the information because of privacy concerns.
Its stance has frustrated investigators, devastated family members and thrust Austin into the spotlight of a growing national debate over the novel use of what some call family-tree forensics.

Calif. man free after DNA site leads to new arrest in murder

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — California authorities used recently developed DNA techniques to free one man and implicate another for only the second time in the United States, officials said Thursday.
A man who spent about 15 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted in the slaying of his housemate has been exonerated after authorities used extended DNA links developed through publicly available genealogical websites to build a family tree that led to the arrest of a new suspect.