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!




Conviction Comes After DNA, Family Tree Crack 1987 Killings (ABC News – 6/28/2019)

  • A jury convicted a Washington state man Friday in the killings of a young Canadian couple more than three decades ago — a case that was finally solved when investigators turned to powerful genealogy software to build a family tree of the then-unknown suspect.



Ancient DNA Help Scientists Study Human Evolution: ‘It’s Like a Time Capsule’ (Phys Org – 6/28/2019)

  • There are several ancient DNA labs around the world now, and the more samples Raghavan and her colleagues can analyze in an ethical, informed and sustainable manner, the higher-resolution picture they can create about how individuals and populations evolved over time.


Idaho 1987 Cold Case Solved Through DNA Recovered from Victim’s Fingernails, Police Say (FOX News – 7/1/2019)

  • The Idaho State Police lab initially lacked the capacity to conduct DNA testing on scrapings from Bristow’s fingernails, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported.

    When that testing was finally conducted, the DNA was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, which returned a match for Acosta, the paper reported.


Confession: Man Admits to Murder After DNA Website Helps Lead Police to Him (FOX 5 News – 7/1/2019)

  • Through Parabon Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service, experts were able to match the DNA from the crime scene to Mr. Frampton.

    This is the first-time this type of DNA technology was used in solving an Anne Arundel County crime.


Genealogy Sites Have Helped Identify Suspects. Now They’ve Helped Convict One. (The New York Times – 7/1/2019)

    • “There is no stopping genetic genealogy now,” said CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist whose work led to the arrest in the murder case. “I think it will become a regular, accepted part of law enforcement investigations.”


Serial Rape Suspect Linked to Decades-Old Crimes Through Genealogy, DNA, Officials Say (NBC News – 7/1/2019)

  • Mark Manteuffel, 59, was arrested in a series of crimes that occurred in the Sacramento area between 1992 and 1994.


Idaho Will Now Test All Rape Kits. It Could Lead to More Convictions, Trust of Police (East Idaho News – 7/2/2019)

  • After three years of implementing regulations around the testing and tracking of sexual assault evidence kits, law went into place on Monday that mandates the testing of all kits, with very rare exceptions.



Vatican Tombs to be Opened in Search for Remains of Emanuela Orlandi, Teen Missing Since 1983 (NBC News – 7/3/2019)

  • The Vatican has agreed to open a pair of tombs in the heart of Vatican City to search for the remains of a teenage girl who went missing more than three decades ago, according to a spokesman for the Holy See.


Modern Forensics Solves Stone Age Murder Mystery After 33,000 Years (New Scientist – 7/3/2019)

  • Researchers have used forensic science to crack one of the oldest cold cases in history – the murder of an early modern human who lived in Europe more than 30,000 years ago.

    The skull of Cioclovina man has long been mysterious. It was discovered during the second world war, in 1941, by miners searching for phosphate in a cave in Transylvania, Romania. Dated at 33,0000 years old, Cioclovina is one of the oldest, relatively complete skulls so far found of an early modern human living in Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic period.



Chomp! Shark Bite Mystery Solved 25 Years Later Thanks to DNA (CNN – 7/3/2019)

  • Jeff Weakley was surfing at Flagler Beach in Florida in 1994 when he was bitten in the foot by a shark. Now he knows what kind of shark bit him — thanks to a tooth fragment he pulled from his foot more than two decades after the attack.


Unidentified Detroit Homicide Victims to be Exhumed for DNA (The Olympian – 7/3/2019)

  • The remains of unidentified Detroit homicide victims are being exhumed from area cemeteries over the next few months as police and other agencies use new technologies and DNA to try and identify them.


Philistines, Biblical Enemies of the Israelites, Were European, DNA Reveals (Live Science – 7/3/2019)

  • The ancient Philistines — famous for their appearances in the Hebrew Bible, including the story of David and the giant Philistine Goliath — weren’t local to what is now modern-day Israel. Instead, this enigmatic group descended from a group of seafaring Europeans, a new study of ancient DNA finds.