This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!




Woman’s DNA Helps Convict Her Father for Rape (BBC News – 8/3/2021)

  • A rapist has been jailed for 11 years after his daughter – who was conceived in the attack – provided DNA. Carvel Bennett, 74, was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old in Birmingham in the 1970s, leaving her pregnant. His daughter, who was adopted as a baby, campaigned for justice after first discovering details of her conception from birth records when she turned 18.


Families Urge Using New DNA Tech to ID Pearl Harbor Unknowns (The Intelligencer – 8/3/2021)

  • As with remains on other sunken ships, the Navy considers those aboard the Arizona to be in their final resting place. The families are not advocating for them to be removed and identified.


Scientists Extract Ancient DNA from 32,000-Year-Old Bear Skull (LiveScience – 8/3/2021)

  • DNA extracted from a 32,500-year-old bear skull hints that ice age brown bears migrated to Honshu, Japan’s largest island and lived near present-day Tokyo before eventually dying out.


‘Jetty Doe’ Case: DNA Lab Sheds New Light, Helps Identify Man Found in Snohomish River in 1980 (Q13 FOX Seattle – 8/8/2021)

  • The body of a man found in the Snohomish River in 1980 was finally identified this month thanks to specialized DNA Laboratory Othram and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. The man that detectives referred to as “Jetty Doe” for decades has been named and the family finally has some answers.


DNA from Thin Air: A New Way to Detect Rare Wildlife in Hostile Environments (The Guardian – 8/8/2021)

  • DNA is in the air – literally. It is wafted around by all the Earth’s creatures, and now scientists have found a way to detect these invisible traces of genetic material so they can identify the animals that released them.

    The discovery – made independently by British and Danish research groups earlier this year – opens up a powerful way to pinpoint the presence of rare wildlife in deserts, rainforests and other hostile environments


NY Suburb’s Newly Created Cold Case Bureau Solves 30-Year-Old Homicide (Forensic – 8/11/2021)

  • Westchester County District Attorney Miriam Rocah announced that her newly-created Cold Case Bureau, in partnership with the FBI, Mount Vernon Police Department and the Westchester Department of Laboratories and Research, has successfully identified a woman who was found dead in Mount Vernon over 30 years ago.

    Through the use of DNA testing and investigative genealogy, the victim, formerly known as “Jane Doe Mount Vernon” has officially been identified as Veronica Wiederhold. On Feb. 14, 1988, at around 11:54 a.m., Wiederhold was found dead and nude on the street by Mount Vernon Police.


Edmonton Police Launch Forensic Decomposition Study (Forensic – 8/11/2021)

  • The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is partnering with a forensic expert on human decomposition to study the dispersal of remains in the Edmonton region.

    The EPS Canine Unit is partnering with Shari Forbes, research chair in forensic thanatology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and director of the first human taphonomy facility in Canada, commonly known as Canada’s first “body farm.”



Sarasota Police Solve 1985 Murder Using New DNA Technology (WFTS Tampa Bay – 8/11/2021)

  • Sarasota police have solved a 35-year-old murder case with modern DNA testing and technology.

    The department announced in a press conference that recent advancements in technology allowed investigators to re-examine forensic evidence from the case that was once thought to be unsolvable.