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!




Othram Appoints Former Bode VP as Chief Commercial Officer (Forensic – 1/24/2022)

  • Othram Inc., has announced the appointment of industry veteran Andrew Singer as Chief Commercial Officer. Singer will lead efforts to expand Othram’s operations throughout North America, delivering on the company’s mission to enable justice for all victims and their families.



Illinois Police Hope Technology Helps ID Head Found in 1993 (AP News – 1/24/2022)

  • Southern Illinois police are hoping technologies not available three decades ago can help them identify a woman whose head was found in 1993 in a state park.

    The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is working with researchers who have performed an anthropological re-analysis, forensic genealogy and DNA analysis on the remains of the woman, who is known only as “Ina Jane Doe.”


DNA Helps Identify Violent Rapist as Suspect in Decades-Old Murder of Apple Valley Woman (Daily Press – 1/25/2022)

  • Advancements in DNA technology helped authorities to identify a suspect in a nearly four-decade-old cold case that involved the murder of a woman in Apple Valley.

    Robert Eugene Wortman, a late resident of Apple Valley, was identified as the suspect in the 37-year-old cold case murder of Helen Margaret Brooks, 63, according to sheriff’s officials on Monday.

    Investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Detail — Cold Case Unit along with those from the FBI — Riverside Office worked to solve the cold case.


Skeletal Remains Identified through DNA as Missing California Woman Shot to Death in 1977 (KIRO7 – 1/25/2022)

  • Skeletal remains found more than 35 years ago have been identified as belonging to a California woman reported missing by her boyfriend in 1977.

    Linda Louise Durnall, 27, vanished in October 1977 after reportedly meeting with her ex-husband. Phillip LeBeau, who died in 2008, remains the prime suspect in her murder.


Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Othram Partner to ID ‘Little Miss Nobody’ (Forensic – 1/26/2022)

  • A Las Vegas school teacher was looking for rocks at Sand Wash Creek in Congress, Arizona on July 31, 1960 only to discover the partially buried remains of a young child. At the scene, investigators documented a set of adult shoe prints as well as two additional locations of disturbed soil — potentially failed burial spots. Pathologists determined that the child had been burned and was deceased for 1-2 weeks prior to discovery. Due to the higher temperatures during the summer time, the high decomposition rate of the remains made it difficult to determine a cause of death. Additionally, the pathologists found no sign of skeletal trauma, indicating that the child had no new or healed bone fractures at any point. Due to the suspicious nature of the case, her death has been ruled a homicide. In 2021, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office continued their pursuits for an identity by partnering with Othram Inc. Investigators hope that the use of advanced forensic technology may give insight into the tragic circumstances surrounding this child and her untimely death.


DDP Helps ID 1994 Jane Doe Found in Michigan Woods (Forensic – 1/26/2022)

  • On Nov. 6, 1994, rabbit hunters discovered human skeletal remains in a cornfield near a wooded area just north of I-96 in Wright Township, Ottawa County, near Coopersville, Michigan. Investigators believed the victim was most likely dumped at the site between May and September 1994.

    On Jan. 20, 2022, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and the DNA Doe Project (DDP) announced the identification of the skeletal as Shelly Rae Christian. DDP used investigative genetic genealogy to solve the 27-year-old cold case that was known as Matilda Ottawa Co Jane Doe 1994.


Cold Case Team IDs 1977 Missing Woman, Receives Grant for Half a Million (Forensic – 1/26/2022)

  • The Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team is having a good start to their year.  Last week, they successfully identified a woman missing since 1977. This week, the cold case unit accepted a $535,000 federal grant.


DNA Labs International Launches the Newest Technology for Forensic Genetic Genealogy (Laboratory Network – 1/26/2022)

  • DNA Labs International, which specializes in forensic DNA analysis including forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) for law enforcement agencies, government forensic labs, and attorneys, is announcing the release of their newest technology, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) testing with the ForenSeq™ Kintelligence Kit.