Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

‘Francine’s Law’ for missing persons signed by Gov. Stitt

Legislation that changes the way missing persons cases are handled in Oklahoma has been signed into law.

Experts Call for Making DNA Testing Mandatory in Violent Crimes

New Delhi, Delhi, India: In a compelling debate on forensic DNA technology’s role in fighting crime, organised at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club–South Asia, forensic, legal, and policy experts attributed the rise in crimes against women in India to more reporting of cases rather than an extraordinary spike in violence.

Adoption and Sperm and Egg Donations Are No Longer Anonymous

For over a century parents had the option of placing a child for adoption anonymously – meaning that the child and adoptive family had little or no information about the biological parents, and few, if any, means to contact each other in the future. But the advent of widespread direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing and the creation of ‘family matching’ databases has forever torn off the seal of confidential adoptions.

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.

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.

Man convicted of rape in 1976 is cleared by DNA retesting

A former Fairfax County, Va., man convicted of rape in 1976 and imprisoned for 4½ years despite conflicting physical evidence and multiple alibi witnesses has had his conviction erased by the Virginia Supreme Court.
Winston L. Scott, now 63 and living in Indiana, spent 43 years as a convicted rapist. “It ruined his life,” said Shawn Armbrust of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which handled Scott’s appeal. “It ruined his relationship, it ruined his career plans, it ruined his job prospects. Living for 43 years as a convicted rapist is not something any of us would want to do.”

The Technology 202: Consumers advocates want Washington to tackle ‘Wild West’ of DNA test kits

A consumer advocacy group leader says it’s time for Washington lawmakers to set some rules in the “Wild West” of at-home DNA testing kits.
Following a report that Family Tree DNA gave the FBI access to its vast genetic database, Sally Greenberg, the executive director of the National Consumers League, says Congress must make sure people are aware of the broad privacy implications of using these common services. Most people who buy DNA kits think they’re learning about their ancestors or relatives, Greenberg says, and they don’t know that companies often have sweeping terms of service agreements that allow them to share customer genetic data with law enforcement or other companies.

A long handshake can spread your DNA to objects you didn’t touch

BALTIMORE — A 10-second handshake could transfer a person’s DNA to an object that the person never touched.
In handshaking experiments, people who never picked up a knife became the major source of DNA on the handle about 7 percent of the time, forensic scientist Cynthia Cale reported February 21 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. That DNA was transferred to the knife when the person’s handshaking partner grasped the handle.

F.B.I. Hopes Samuel Little’s Drawings Will Help Identify His Murder Victims

They are haunting drawings: black, white and Latina women, most of them youthful, with bright lips and lined eyes, staring plaintively at the viewer.
The women were etched in chalk pastel by the man who says he killed them, in a spree he says began in 1970 and continued for decades. If verified, that would make him among the most prolific serial killers in American history.

St. George Police officer recognized for ‘amazing’ detective work in solving rape case

ST. GEORGE — A St. George Police officer is among several city employees to have received recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty.
During a public meeting at City Hall Thursday evening, St. George Police Detective Josh Wilson was honored with the city’s “Brighter Side” award for his work solving a case of brutal sexual assault perpetrated against a woman last spring.

Bode Technology Announces Forensic Genealogy Service to Law Enforcement Agencies and Crime Laboratories

“It is estimated that 50% of the samples entered into the national database do not result in matches, nor support investigations,” said Mike Cariola, President and CEO of Bode Technology. “Over the past three years alone, Bode has processed nearly 50,000 sexual assault kits. Every one of these cases that goes unmatched, thus unsolved in CODIS, is a candidate for forensic genealogy. Victims deserve justice and perpetrators need to be caught before they commit more crimes.”

Judge: New DNA evidence means man is entitled to new trial

Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge John Allen ruled last week that Gates is entitled to a new trial, citing new testing that showed his DNA was not on the fabric used to bind Wright. The judge also found that prosecutors at Gates’ trial purposely excluded black jurors, but he wrote that evidence of that behavior was presented too late to declare a new trial on those grounds.

New job, system approved to track New Hampshire rape kits

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire will implement a new system to keep track of evidence in sexual assault cases after finding that nearly 600 rape kits had not been submitted to the state crime lab.

Year in Science: Genetic breakthroughs make dreams (and nightmares) come true

In science, it was the best of times, and the worst of times.
2018 was a year when researchers focused in on ways to head off disease by reprogramming a patient’s own cells, but also crossed what many thought were ethical red lines in genetic experimentation. It was the first year in which women won a share of the Nobel Prize for physics as well as for chemistry, but also a year when the #MeToo issue came to the fore in the science community.
And it was the year that marked the passing of British physicist Stephen Hawking, who was arguably the world’s best-known living scientist.

Dads (Not Just Moms) Can Pass on Mitochondrial DNA, According to Provocative New Study

It’s long been thought that people inherit mitochondrial DNA — genetic material found inside cells’ mitochondria — exclusively from their mothers. But now, a provocative new study finds that, in rare cases, dads can pass on mitochondrial DNA, too.