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

New Scientific Technology may Soon be Able to Tell if Your Clothes are Slave Labor-Free (Michigan Chronicle – 12/1/2016)

  • However there may be a new scientific technology on the horizon that will be able to determine whether or not your clothes are free from slave labor.


Determining a Defendant’s Competency Using Forensic Psychology (Fox17 – 12/2/2016)

  • Two high-profile cases from Kalamazoo County have dominated headlines for much of 2016, both heartbreaking tragedies involving men accused of killing several people.


DNA Diagnostics Center Announces Acquisition of IDENTIGENE, LLC (PR Newswire – 12/2/2016)

  • DNA Diagnostics Center® (DDC® or the Company), one of the world’s largest private DNA testing companies, announces the acquisition of IDENTIGENE® LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sorenson Genomics, LLC. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.


Leahy Bill to Improve Criminal Justice System to be Signed into Law (Vermontbiz – 12/2/2016)

  • Legislation long championed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) to help ensure that the criminal justice system functions fairly now goes to the White House for signature after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill on Thursday. The Justice for All Reauthorization Act aims to reduce the rape kit backlog by supporting grant programs that fund forensic testing.


Armed Forces Medical College Awaits DNA Profile Certifier (The Times of India – 12/2/2016)

  • The Armed Forces Medical College‘s (AFMC) wait for a DNA profile report certifier continues as the relevant bill is pending clearance in the parliament.


NC Man Who Served 25 Years for Rape Based on Hair Evidence Pardoned (Forensic Magazine- 12/2/2016)

  • Timothy Bridges was convicted of raping an elderly woman in 1991, based on two hairs found at the scene of the crime, and despite a bloody handprint on the wall that didn’t match him. He served 25 years in prison, before his conviction was vacated and he was released on bond last autumn.


USS Oklahoma 75 Years Later: DNA is Not Just Science, It’s Personal (DVIDS – 12/2/2016)

  • The USS Oklahoma was hit by multiple torpedoes and capsized during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, resulting in the loss of 429 Navy and Marine personnel. Seventy-five years later the Department of Defense DNA Registry under the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System is still hard at work to bring those servicemen home to their families.


Santa Clara County: Doubts About Forensic Test Could Undermine Dozens of Sex Cases (The Mercury News – 12/3/2016)

  • Significant problems with a forensic test used by crime labs across the country — including results that are flat-out wrong ­— have surfaced in Santa Clara County, potentially undermining a pending death penalty case as well as dozens of local sexual assault convictions dating back more than a decade.


State Crime Lab Woes: Increased Demand, Lack of Personnel and Equipment Negatively Impacting Workload (Bluefield Daily Telegraph – 12/4/2016)

  • Delays in analyzing forensic evidence in drug cases are costing Mercer County and other municipalities around the state substantial dollars.


Ancient Roman DNA Reveals Modern Malaria Parasite (CNN – 12/5/2016)

  • For the first time, researchers have discovered genomic evidence of malaria in 2,000-year-old human remains from the Roman Empire, according to a new study.


Familial-DNA Testing Used for First Time in Ohio in Suspected Serial-Abductor Case: Q&A ( – 12/5/2016)

  • The state crime lab used a new kind of DNA testing for the first time in Ohio to help identify and arrest a Lorain man accused of being a serial abductor and child predator, officials said.


APD Partners with Dallas Lab to Test Backlogged DNA Kits (CBS Austin – 12/5/2016)

  • This month, APD will start sending backlogged DNA kits to both laboratories for testing. The department says they plan to send 100 cases every two weeks to SWIFS. They’ll also continue their agreement with DPS. The DPS agreement allows them to send up to 20 critical cases in need of expedited processing to the DPS lab each month.


Improving Sexual Assault Victim Cooperation a Matter of Evidence, says Academic Study (Forensic Magazine – 12/6/2016)

  • Women who report sexual assault at the hands of their intimate partners don’t always cooperate with the criminal investigation. Because of fears for personal safety, or a desire to “put the incident behind her,” the help for detectives can slow down or disappear entirely shortly after the initial police response.


Forensic Genealogy – The Real Story  (Forensic Magazine – 12/6/2016)

  • Colleen Fitzpatrick is an American scientist who is widely regarded as the founder of the field of forensic genealogy. Boasting a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Duke University, Fitzpatrick owned a contract company that specialized in high-resolution laser measurements techniques. After contracts with NASA and other government agencies ran their course, Fitzpatrick decided to close the company and finish writing her first book, “Forensic Genealogy.” It was an overnight success.


Familial Searching, Used in 10 States and Counting, Solves the Unsolvable (Forensic Magazine – 12/8/2016)

  • But so far, only 10 states have protocols in place to use the technique to search for the criminals behind unsolved crimes – but there are new calls to expand its use.


A Mummy’s DNA May Help Solve the Mystery of the Origins of Smallpox (NPR – 12/8/2016)

  • The surprise find of smallpox DNA in a child mummy from the 17th century could help scientists start to trace the mysterious history of this notorious virus.