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!




Six Years After Teen Swept into Ocean, DNA Test Confirms Remains (Palm Beach Post – 7/27/2019)

  • In May 2013, 17-year-old Rodelson Normil was swept into the Atlantic Ocean, caught in a rip current off Gulfstream Park. This week, Gulf Stream police identified his remains.



Exonerated Man Talks About DNA Testing Method that Cleared His Name (KMVT11 – 7/27/2019)

  • A KMVT reporter talked with Tapp over the phone to discuss the changes in DNA, and the technique which has not only exonerated him, but led to arrests in other cases across the country.


Illinois Becomes 8th State to Lift Sex-Crime Prosecution Time Limit (Daily Chronicle – 7/27/2019)

  • Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday that makes Illinois the eighth state to remove time restrictions on prosecuting crimes of sexual violence.


Kentucky Police Use New Technology to Nab Suspects in Hours Instead of Weeks as Rapid DNA Market Takes Off (CNBC – 7/28/2019)

  • Colorado-based ANDE Rapid DNA is offering its quick DNA testing to Kentucky state police for free as part of an ongoing pilot program. Kentucky is the first state to use ANDE’s technology for sexual assault cases and it’s getting a lot of notice from other states.


My Cousin, the Killer: Her DNA Cracked a 1987 Double Murder (HeraldNet – 7/28/2019)

  • Chelsea Rustad is skeptical of cops. But she’s glad they used her genes to solve the Talbott murder case.


Israelis Develop Luminescent Forensic Blood Detection Test (Israel21C – 7/28/2019)

  • New chip device enables the detection of much smaller blood samples at a crime or accident scene.



Experts: Forensic Science ‘A Must’ to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade (Business Mirror – 7/29/2019)

  • As the Philippines intensify efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade, organizers and participants of a three-day national conference on wildlife forensics held in Mandaue City in the middle of July have affirmed the need to enhance the country’s capacity in the application of science to pursue cases involving wildlife crime.



What’s a DNA Bus Looking For in New Orleans? Samples, Help Building Database, Better Treatment (NOLA – 7/29/2019)

  • The DNA collection program is a project of the National Institutes of Health, and is operated in the metro area by Tulane and LSU health centers. The mandate over the next four years is to gather DNA from 1 million people across the United States, creating a database that will reveal the health implications of individuals’ DNA by cross-matching it with medical history and records, along with everyone else’s in the database.



A ‘Vampire’s’ Remains Were Found About 30 Years Ago. Now DNA is Giving Him New Life (Washington Post – 7/31/2019)

  • Now, 200 years or so after the death of what is now the country’s best studied “vampire,” DNA sleuths have tracked down his probable name: John Barber.



Why Scientists are Analyzing DNA Collected from Shark Barf (Forbes – 7/31/2019)

  • And now, by analyzing the contents of their stomachs, scientists recently learned that young tiger sharks’ diets include birds commonly found in urban environments — such as woodpeckers and sparrows.


Unidentified Woman Found Dead in 1986 is Exhumed to Test her DNA: ‘Has the Family Been Looking for Her?’ (ABC News – 7/31/2019)

  • An unidentified woman found dead in 1986 was exhumed this week in an effort to test her DNA and finally discover who she is, authorities said.


Seattle Bill May Grant Access to Hundreds of DNA Samples in Murder Cases (Komo News – 7/31/2019)

  • A bill making its way through Seattle’s City Council would land DNA samples from hundreds of convicted misdemeanor offenders in a federal crime database.


DNA Will Not Solve Mexico’s Unidentified-Body Crisis (Slate – 8/1/2019)

  • Families and the government both hope that genetic information will match the missing and the unidentified.