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 Analysis of 1944 Hartford Circus Fire Bodies Exhumed Was Unsuccessful (NBC Connecticut – 7/11/2020)

DNA Evidence Exonerates Triple-Homicide Men After 22 Years (The Davis Vanguard – 7/12/2020)

  • After three bodies were found in a Brooklyn apartment in 1992, defendants Julian Yeats, 18, and Curtis Watson, 15—not their real names—were convicted of three homicides each.

    However, after serving nearly 22 years in prison, Yeats and Watson were exonerated when District Attorney Eric Gonzalez assigned his Conviction Review Unit (CRU) to investigate the 1994 trials, and the unit found multiple issues in relation to the defendants’ confessions, police conduct, and prosecutor conduct—as well as new scientific evidence.


DNA Helps Solve 1980 Cold Case in Yavapai County (KTAR News – 7/14/2020)

  • A nearly 40-year-old cold case murder has been solved by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release.

Speeding Up Sexual Assault Investigations with Chemistry (Locard’s Lab – 7/15/2020)

    • A recent study has demonstrated a new technique for the rapid detection of semen and the chemical differentiation of condoms, offering a new potential tool to assist sexual assault investigations.



Innocence Project Calls for Reforms After DA Report Examines 25 Wrongful Convictions in Brooklyn (Forensic – 7/15/2020)

  • Today, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office released a landmark report examining how and why the KCDA’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) in Brooklyn, New York, agreed to exonerate 25 wrongly convicted people in a five-year period (between 2014-2019).



Could Genealogy Websites Help Catch Aid Worker Sex Abusers? (Reuters – 7/15/2020)

  • ATechnology that helped catch a U.S. serial murderer, dubbed the Golden State Killer, could be used to track down aid workers who sexually abuse girls and women overseas, according to the team behind a groundbreaking project in the Philippines.


Investigators Turn to Genealogy Testing to ID ‘Ada Bones’ (Wood TV – 7/15/2020)

  • The Kent County Sheriff’s Department confirmed it is working with the DNA Doe Project to try to identify the so-called ‘Ada Bones’ discovered off M-21 in July 1997. Though investigators have not said how the victim died, the case is being treated as a homicide.



Punjab Forensic Science Agency Solved 600,000 Cases so Far (The International News – 7/16/2020)

  • Punjab Forensic Science Agency Lahore Director General Dr M Ashraf Tahir Wednesday said the agency has processed 1.5 million evidence a year and solved 600,000 cases so far since its inception. Addressing a seminar at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, he said it is the second largest and reliable laboratory in the world in terms of collecting forensic evidence.