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!
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.
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.
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.
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.