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!




Crime won’t stop because of COVID. So how should we protect crime scene investigators? (The Conversation – 1/13/2022)

  • COVID may have curtailed travel, hospitality, education and entertainment, but crime scene investigation never stops.

    As a forensic scientist, researcher and lecturer, I know first-hand the risks and challenges crime scene investigation (CSI) teams have faced over the past two years as we’ve grappled with the realities of operating amid the threat of COVID.

    CSI units present a unique challenge, as investigators often work at close quarters for prolonged periods. Yet surprisingly, until now, there has been very little adjustment to existing crime scene procedures.

    When COVID first appeared, guidelines were quickly introduced in a range of countries for forensic autopsies of COVID-positive cases and the handling of infected biological samples, but not for CSI protocols more generally.



Researchers Hope to Shed Light on 19th Century Remains (Forensic – 1/14/2022)

  • The 19th century human remains discovered in 1994 in an abandoned well on the MCV Campus were transferred last week from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, where researchers will seek to understand more about who the people were and the cultural and historical context in which they lived.


Denver Coroner’s Office Establishes Family Advocate Program (Forensic – 1/17/2022)

  • The Denver coroner’s office created a first-in-the-state family advocate program to provide support from trained victims’ advocates to the loved ones of the deceased. The office now hopes to expand the program — and that it will catch on in other jurisdictions.


Funding Awarded for Kentucky Sex Assault Kit Investigation (Forensic – 1/17/2022)

  • Almost $850,000 in federal funding has been awarded to the Kentucky State Police sexual assault kit initiative investigative team, Gov. Andy Beshear announced.

    The award will provide for an additional investigator who will focus on the Jefferson County area. It will also pay for an additional part-time administrative staff member to assist with operations.

    Some of the funds will also go toward the KSP forensic lab to complete DNA and other forensic analysis on sexual assault kits from approximately 500 cases from the 1970s to the early 1990s.


Forensic Scientists Lend Expertise to Aid Search for Missing People in Latin America (Eurasia Review – 1/17/2022)

  • Forensic science experts from Keele University have contributed their expertise to research helping to find thousands of missing people in Latin America.

    Countries in Central and South America have significant numbers of missing people and forced disappearances, with over 120,000 cases reported in Colombia alone.

    Sadly it is common in these cases for these missing people to have been murdered, and a common scenario for investigators is finding their remains in shallow, clandestine graves. But the variety of terrain, natural environments and climates in these countries make it difficult for forensic search teams to identify these graves and find the remains of missing people.

    To aid the search teams in their mission, forensic science experts from Keele – including Dr Jamie Pringle, Dr Kris Wisniewski and Dr Vivienne Heaton – have co-authored a new study assessing the most effective scientific methods and equipment for detecting such grave sites, and the best ways of using them to find missing people.


Parabon Tops 200 Solved Cases (Newswires – 1/19/2022)

  • Buoyed by technological advancements, Parabon’s Snapshot® team reports 67 IDs in 2021