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!




Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office Partners with Othram to ID Remains Found on Beach (Forensic – 7/31/2020)

  • The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s office and Othram are working with the Galveston Police Department to help identify an unknown deceased black man found on a beach near Kahala Drive in Galveston, Texas. The decedent was found May 10 and the circumstances of death are unclear.



Colorado Court Rules Evidence Produced by STRmix is Relevant, Reliable (Forensic – 7/31/2020)

  • Rejecting a defense motion to exclude expert testimony regarding DNA evidence, the District Court for Weld County, Colora has ruled that evidence produced by STRmix is relevant, reliable, and therefore admissible in court proceedings.


Why a Data Breach at a Genealogy Site Has Privacy Experts Worried (The New York Times – 8/1/2020)

  • Nearly two-thirds of GEDmatch’s users opt out of helping law enforcement. For a brief window this month, that didn’t matter.

Forgery Forensics: How the Smithsonian Helped Identify Two Stolen Columbus Letters (CBS News – 8/2/2020)

    • When U.S. authorities needed help examining suspected stolen copies of Christopher Columbus’s letters, they turned to the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute in Maryland. Digital imaging specialist Keats Webb and Smithsonian Institution Archives paper conservator Nora Lockshin used non-invasive digital imaging technology to take different raking light views of the 500-year-old documents.



New DNA Program to Identify Remains of Missing Loved Ones (9 News – 8/3/2020)

  • There are around 500 sets of unidentified human remains in Australia, with some linked to cold cases going back more than 50 years.
    The country’s first National DNA Program was launched today by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
    The project will use advanced DNA profiling to match any unidentified human remains with missing persons.



DNA Evidence Leads to Arrest of Woman for Her Baby’s 1988 Killing (Los Angeles Times – 8/3/2020)

  • A California woman has been arrested in the death of her newborn boy 32 years ago in the Bay Area, in a case that was solved decades later because of genetic genealogy, authorities said Monday.


Wildlife Forensics: How a Giant Pangolin Named Ghost Could Help Save the Species (The Guardian – 8/4/2020)

  • A new research programme in Gabon is identifying the ‘isotopic fingerprint’ of the world’s most-trafficked mammal in the fight to beat smugglers