Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

Why this 80-year-old marquise is Spain’s most inspiring woman

Margarita Salas defied tradition views of a woman’s role in Franco Spain to do amazing things.
An 80-year-old Spanish scientist whose work has shaped the study of DNA testing has just won a life time achievement award and we at The Local think everyone should know her name.

We need to fix forensics. But how?

Ten years ago, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published a groundbreaking study on the use of forensics in criminal trials. The study found that, in the “pattern matching” fields of forensics in particular, expert witnesses had been vastly overstating the significance and certainty of their analyses. For some fields, such as bite-mark analysis, the study found no scientific research at all to support the central claims of practitioners.

Lawyers In A Murder Trial Clash Over A DNA Forensics Methods

ON A LARGE screen inside a packed Snohomish County courtroom, in Washington state, a young Canadian couple smiled out at the dimmed room from the relaxed, faded scene of a party. It was the last known picture taken of Tanya Van Cuylenberg and Jay Cook together before they disappeared in November 1987. Their bodies were discovered days after they went missing, more than 60 miles apart.

Golden State Killer breakthrough garners global acclaim as ‘DNA Hit of the Year’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When DNA made the break in the 45-year-old Golden State Killer case, it set off a national phenomenon to identify suspects in some of the country’s worst unsolved crimes. Now, the case is getting global recognition for the breakthrough and influence it had in the forensic field.

The First Murder Case To Use Family Tree Forensics Goes To Trial

To crack a 32-year-old murder case, police used genetic genealogy, which involves searching family tree sites and the DNA that people add to them. Now its legality is getting scrutiny in the courtroom.

New Louisiana Law Allows Expert Testimony on the Flaws of Eyewitness Accounts of Crimes

The idea behind the law is to help prevent wrongful convictions based on eyewitness testimony. Forty-eight states already have similar laws on the books, and the federal court system already permits expert testimony on the subject.

Police release timeline of “significant events” in Dennis Day investigation

PHOENIX, Ore. – UPDATE: 6/7/19 : On Friday, Oregon State Police released a timeline of what it calls “significant events” in the Dennis Day investigation. The former Disney Mouseketeer and actor disappeared without a trace last summer.

After obtaining DNA from estranged husband of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Farber Dulos, authorities searching Farmington properties connected to him

The search follows a series of new developments in the case over the last 48 hours.
State police, sources said, have obtained DNA samples from Fotis Dulos. Sources also told the Courant that police have obtained surveillance video of Dulos in a Hartford neighborhood where police conducted an extensive search for evidence Friday, sifting through trash cans and scouring dumpsters for several hours.

Arrest in 43-year-old murder case stuns Wisconsin town

Word of the arrest — via a friend’s text message — hit Wayne Sankey like a thunderbolt.
“I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,'” Sankey recalled. “And then I told the wife and she couldn’t believe it. ‘There’s no way,’ she said. ‘Ray down the road?'”

Bill requiring Illinois State Police to perform rapid DNA testing passes Senate

CHICAGO (WLS) — Action is being taken to reduce delays in testing DNA evidence that’s sitting unchecked.
A bipartisan state bill to implement “Rapid DNA” had already passed in the House, and on Tuesday, it passed unanimously in the Senate.

Hair Analysis in Forensic Science

Hair samples are one of the most important resources in the forensic analysis of crime scenes, often providing valuable information that can help to lead to the identification of a suspect or victim.

Sex assault charge dismissed in cold case as attorneys wrangle over DNA evidence

MARINETTE – The first-degree sexual assault charge filed against a northern Oconto County man accused of a double homicide nearly 43 years ago was dismissed Monday at hearing where defense attorneys signaled an intent to aggressively fight DNA evidence in the case.
Marinette County District Attorney DeShea Morrow did not dispute a defense motion to dismiss the charge against Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven, which noted the statute of limitations had expired after six years.

Woman accused in death of newborn granted pretrial release

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota woman charged with murder in the death of her newborn who was abandoned in a ditch 38 years ago has been released from jail.
Theresa Bentaas, 57, has been in the Minnehaha County Jail since her arrest March 8. Investigators said they used advances in DNA evidence and genealogy sites to determine she was the mother of the infant, called Baby Andrew, whose body was found wrapped in a blanket in a cornfield ditch in Sioux Falls in February 1981.

DNA database opts a million people out from police searches

A major DNA database that has been pivotal in solving US cold crime cases has blocked law enforcement access to the profiles of a million people, in a setback for investigators and a victory for campaigners.

DNA is cracking mysteries and cold cases. But is genome sleuthing the ‘unregulated wild west?’

It happens almost every week: Police reveal that DNA technology has helped them crack a decades-old case or identify an infamous serial killer like Jack the Ripper.
Investigators have been using criminal DNA databases for decades, but commercial genealogy sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have revolutionized the industry. Now people can make their own genetic material public, and when law enforcement use that information to solve crimes, it can raise serious questions about privacy.