Category Archives: New ID Technologies

After 36 years, DNA evidence and genealogy help to ID a murder victim and her killer

Almost 37 years later, with the help of DNA detectives, genealogy records and dogged detective work, the mystery was solved. The victim in the lonely grave is Mary Silvani, a Pontiac, Michigan, native who grew up in Detroit, had two brothers and eventually moved to California.

Could solved cold case unravel Harmeier homicide?

Might the solving of a 46-year-old homicide in Vigo County lead police to the answer of who killed an Indiana University student 42 years ago?

Scientists Create New ‘Half Face Recognition’ Technique

A new technique to identify people by looking at parts of their faces and without seeing the full facial features of the targeted person is under testing.
Using artificial intelligence techniques, a team of researchers at the University of Bradford has achieved 100 percent recognition rates for both three-quarter and half faces, the German News Agency reported.

A simple approach to dating bones

In the late 1990s, as an anthropology PhD student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Ann Ross travelled to Bosnia to help identify casualties of war. In her current role as head of the Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, she does much the same for the people of her state. Her lab — a refurbished engineering space measuring about 90 square metres — has a contract with the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which means that when a human skeleton is recovered, it is her job to determine what happened. The lab has enough tables for four skeletons. Most days, Ross says, all the tables are occupied: her lab is revisiting each of the state’s 130-odd cold cases, many dating back decades, to see whether modern forensic science can shed light on what happened.

Rapid DNA technology identified victims of California wildfires

Medical examiners used Rapid DNA technology to identify the 85 people killed in last year’s Camp Fire wildfire in Paradise, Calif.

Two murders stumped police for 40 years. The key was sitting in a bathroom cabinet.

Using updated DNA techniques, including genealogical research, investigators have tied Martinez to the two crimes. But as the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on Wednesday, solving the decades-old killings also hinged on something so common that it’s found in nearly every household — a cluttered bathroom medicine cabinet.

Kentucky says it will be first to use ‘rapid DNA’ to identify rape suspects within hours

The state has made a major push to test backlogged kits since a 2015 audit found about 3,000 untested kits across the state. Kentucky has since sent about 4,600 kits for laboratory DNA testing, a process now nearing its end.

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.

Genealogy And New DNA Evidence Leads To Arrest Over Abandoned Baby’s Death In 1981

Now, thanks to new genealogy databases and consumer DNA tests, this tragic case is reaching a close. The boy’s alleged mother, a 57-year-old named Theresa Rose Bentaas, was arrested on the morning of Friday, March 8 and faces charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and first-degree manslaughter.

A New Method Of DNA Testing Could Solve More Shootings

POLICE FOUND 19 spent shell casings scattered in the San Diego street where Gregory Benton was murdered on April 12, 2014. Benton and his cousin had gone to buy cigarettes, a witness later said. As they returned to a family party, two men pulled up in a car behind them. They got out, and at least one of them opened fire.
Witnesses didn’t get a good look at the men or the car, so when police sat down to review their leads, the shell casings were the best evidence they had. They sent the casings to the San Diego Police Crime Lab, which just happened to be trying out a new DNA testing technique.

The New Weapon In The Fight Against Crime

Solving a murder or tracking down the perpetrators of sexual abuse often requires dogged police work. What if a machine could help detectives spot the vital clues they need?

One Twin Committed the Crime — but Which One? A New DNA Test Can Finger the Culprit

A handful of criminal prosecutions have stalled because DNA tests cannot distinguish between suspects who are twins. Then scientists decided to create one.

Scientists Successfully Double the DNA Alphabet

Now, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has expanded the genetic alphabet by creating synthetic DNA that uses eight letters rather than four, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The new manufactured structure is called “hachimoji DNA,” from the Japanese words for “eight” and letter.”

Creating ‘DNA Barcodes,’ Researchers Work to Speed up Forensic Analysis

One researcher, from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), is seeking to simplify and speed up forensic DNA comparisons bit by bit—literally. Darrell Ricke, Ph.D., is leading research at the lab that would reduce the time and computer power needed for DNA analysis, by encoding the millions of loci and alleles into units of computer data that can then be compared using basic logical commands. Two algorithms developed through Ricke’s research to make these comparisons—FastID and TachysSTR—earned Lincoln Lab one of its 10 R&D 100 awards this past November.

How ‘optical tweezers’ could address one of crime labs’ biggest challenges

When potential DNA evidence—say, from a sexual assault case—is submitted to a forensic lab for analysis, the scientists are often faced with the time-consuming challenge of sorting out which DNA profile came from the victim and which came from the criminal.