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!
Illinois is creating a new commission to help wipe out a backlog of unprocessed DNA evidence. The goal is to improve coordination between police departments and forensic scientists to get DNA evidence processed and help solve crimes.
In early 1991, hunters came upon the skeletal remains of a young woman near Ward Bayou in Vancleave, Mississippi. Investigators initially determined that the remains were likely from a Caucasian woman in her late 20s. It was not clear exactly when she had died but investigators estimated that she might have died up to three years before being located. The death was ruled a homicide, however there were few clues to her identity. In 2019, the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory teamed up with Othram to leverage advanced DNA testing to help produce leads that might lead to the identity of Vancleave Jane Doe or a relative of hers. Othram received skeletal remains and used a combination of proprietary human enrichment steps and Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a genealogical profile for the unknown woman. The work was funded by the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory and a generous donation by genetic genealogist and Mississippi native Carla Davis.
The young woman who mysteriously drowned in the Ropers Motel pool in 1966 might have remained anonymous forever, if not for cutting-edge genetics, old-fashioned genealogy—and the kindness of a small West Texas town.
In 1988, a passerby discovered the partially clothed remains of a young woman in an underground pump house on the former Publicker Distiller property in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Named the Publicker Girl, she was estimated to be 17-20 years old and six months pregnant when she died. With little information for investigators, the case went cold and became the township’s oldest unidentified person. Subscribe to ISHInews on YouTube to be among the first to watch the full episode coming next week.
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