Aug 18 2017

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!


This week in forensic science header

DNA Test Leads Brothers to Reunite with Mother — After 46 Years (CNN – 8/12/2017)

  • Many months of late-night calls — and a DNA test — had led to that life-changing moment. Now 64-year-old Elsie Ramirez was finally face-to-face with her sons, Raymond, 47, and Anthony, 46. She hadn’t seen them since they were infants.


Govt to Create Database of All Cases Across State Using Forensic Evidence (The Indian Express – 8/13/2017)

  • Exercise launched to map role of forensics in securing convictions. Recently, the Mumbai Police had used forensic evidence in solving the murder of model Kritika Chaudhary.


Australia’s Weirdest Job: How Forensic Entomologists Use Insect Clues to Assist Crime Investigations ( – 8/13/2017)

  • When a dead body is found infested by insects, two people in Australia can expect a call. This may be the country’s weirdest job.


Scientists Automate Key Step in Forensic Fingerprint Analysis (NIST – 8/14/2017)

  • New algorithm may make the process more reliable and efficient.


Fighting Ivory Trafficking with Forensic Science (Forensic Magazine – 8/14/2017)

  • Wasser’s focus is on DNA; his lab at the University of Washington developed methods for extracting DNA from feces, and later from the tusks themselves.


First NSF-NIJ Supported Forensic Science Center Launched (FIU News – 8/16/2017)

  • Florida International University (FIU) is in partnership with four universities to develop the next generation of forensic science tools for government agencies, non-profits and private industry.


Despite Privacy Concerns, Miami Beach Police Testing “Rapid DNA” Scans on Suspects (Miami New Times – 8/16/2017)

  • For years, the FBI has been pushing police to adopt “rapid DNA” testing technology, which would let cops quickly obtain the kind of analysis that crime labs usually take months to pull from hair samples or cheek swabs. But privacy experts have long warned that the emerging technology could also lead to huge databases of DNA used for all sorts of reasons by the federal government or local forces.


All That Remains: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist (Times Higher Education – 8/17/2017)

  • Dame Sue Black’s pioneering work has taken her to war zones and the aftermath of natural disasters. She explains the scientific rigour required in the field.


Natalie Holloway’s Dad Having Human Remains Found in Aruba DNA Tested (USA Today – 8/17/2017)

  • The father of Natalee Holloway, the American teenager who disappeared in Aruba 12 years ago, revealed that he and a private investigator recently discovered human remains behind a house on the island.


True ID of ‘Chameleon’ Killer Revealed: Terry Peder Rasmussen (Forensic Magazine – 8/18/2017)

  • The “Chameleon” killer butchered women and children, and left an undetermined trail of bodies and mayhem across the United States in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.


Florida’s Forensic Investigators Face Range of Challenges (Fox 13 – 8/18/2017)

  • Of the 54 unclaimed remains in various states of decay at the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, some were murdered, some died of traumatic injury, and some are a mystery with only bones left behind.