This Week in Forensic Science – ISHI News

Jul 26 2019

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!




Thousands of Bones Discovered in Vatican as Forensics Team Searches for Emanuela Orlandi (CBS News – 7/20/2019)

  • Saturday’s search took a forensics team underneath Vatican City, through a trap-door and into so-called “ossuaries” — a sort of sacred storage deposit for bones. Thousands of bones and bone fragments — many more than expected and some believed to be quite ancient — were discovered and collected as Federica Orlandi, the sister of a missing woman, looked on.



Op-Ed: Harvesting More DNA from Low-Level Offenders Could Result in Fewer Crimes Solved (Los Angeles Times – 7/22/2019)

  • But collecting mountains of DNA from people who are unlikely to have been involved in serious crimes won’t get more hits on cold cases; it will only overwhelm the crime labs.


ICE Ramps Up DNA Testing for Migrant Families Along the Southern Border (CNN – 7/22/2019)

  • The implementation of DNA testing along parts of the US-Mexico border is part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to crack down on illegal immigration, as the number of apprehensions at the border continue to outpace recent years. The DNA testing, in particular, takes direct aim at individuals posing as families amid the increase in families at the border. The administration has argued that people are using children to get into the US, knowing they’ll be released.


Ohio Innocence Project Fights for Eight Years to Free Milford Man Imprisoned for Robbery (WCPO – 7/23/2019)

  • The Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati Law School has been working to free Thornton for eight years. Attorneys say they’ve discovered scientific proof, including DNA evidence, that Thornton was not the man who robbed a Milford Cash Express store in 2007.


Toe Fragment Could Hold the Clue to Cause of Robert the Bruce’s Death (The Scotsman – 7/23/2019)

  • The geneticist whose DNA analysis identified the remains of Richard III is turning her attention to a toe from the body of the Scottish warrior king, Robert the Bruce, to determine the illness that struck him down.


Forensic Genealogy May Help ID Shooting Victim Found in 2000 (The Washington Times – 7/23/2019)

  • Officials earlier released 3D images of the victim’s facial reconstruction, but that has not led to his identity, the Rapid City Journal reported. Now officials are turning to advanced DNA technology and genealogy websites in hopes of identifying him through family members, according to Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald.



A Decades-Old Rape Test Sent Him to Prison. Then His High School Girlfriend Saw an Old Photograph. (The Washington Post – 7/24/2019)

  • When James Chad-Lewis Clay, whose DNA came back as a match, was convicted and sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison, it should have brought the victim some closure. But after the trial ended in 2017, she had a shocking realization: Clay, now 38, was the same person she knew as “Chad” when they briefly dated in high school.



Signaling a ‘New Era’ in Forensic Investigation, a Man Caught Through Genetic Genealogy Gets Life in Prison for 1987 Double Murder (ABC News – 7/24/2019)

  • In a milestone for forensic criminal investigators, a convicted killer received two life sentences on Wednesday for a 1987 double slaying after becoming the first person arrested through genetic genealogy to be found guilty at trial.



Genetic Genealogy’s Less Reliable Cousin (Slate – 7/25/2019)

  • DNA phenotyping promises to tell law enforcement what a suspect looks like. Does it work?