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!





DNA Profiling Helps Solve Case of Remains Found on Saturna Island (Times Colonist – 1/28/2021)

  • The 41-year-old man was last seen in Coquitlam on May 27, 1967. His family reported the disappearance to their local police in Kamloops, which launched what would become a decades-long investigation.




Connecticut Cold Case Murder of Teen Girl Solved via DNA Evidence, Authorities Say (FOX News – 1/30/2021)

  • Willie Robinson, 52, is accused of strangling Jessica Keyworth, 16, and leaving her in a basement stairwell of an apartment building just blocks from his known residence after Memorial Day Weekend 2004, according to the Republican American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn.



NSW Police to Ask Relatives of Missing Persons to Offer Their DNA (The Guardian – 1/30/2021)

  • Pilot scheme on mid north coast hopes to build up database to help identify 769 historical cases on missing persons registry



California Bill Seeks to Reform Expert Witness Testimony (Forensic – 2/1/2021)

  • Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) Senate Bill 243, also known as The End Wrongful Convictions Act, would expand the definition of false evidence to include expert forensic opinions that are outdated and have been proven invalid within the expert’s own scientific community. Bite mark evidence is perhaps the most famed example of an outdated method, previously used in many cases but concluded to be scientifically invalid by the 2016 PCAST report.



How DNA Databases Deter Crime (Bloomberg Opinion – 2/1/2021)

  • The most effective way to deter crime, according to a growing body of research, is to increase the probability of getting caught, rather than the punishment received. That’s because most offenders are not particularly forward-looking, so adding years to an already-long possible prison sentence tends not to change their behavior.



Human Remains Identified After 42 Years as Portland Man (KATU 2 – 2/3/2021)

  • A grant awarded to OSP in 2018 allowed the agency to perform “innovative DNA techniques on unsolved unidentified skeletal remains cases.” Two years later, a DNA Phenotyping and Genetic Genealogy report listed a possible name for the remains found — Freeman Asher Jr.



Bid to Toss DNA Evidence in Phoenix Canal Killings Rejected (The News Tribune – 2/3/2021)

  • A judge has rejected a bid to throw out DNA evidence against a man charged with sexually attacking and fatally stabbing two young women in separate attacks in the early 1990s while they were riding bikes near a canal system that winds through metro Phoenix.

    Lawyers for Bryan Patrick Miller argued police violated his rights because they didn’t have a warrant when collecting his DNA from a mug at a restaurant where he met with an undercover officer.