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!




The Controversial Forensic Test Catching Killers and Rapists through Relatives’ DNA ( – 6/15/2020)

  • “Familial searching” is a sophisticated test that helps track down perpetrators by linking crime scene DNA to their family members.

    The test has helped detectives in Adelaide catch a rapist and Queensland Police convict a killer.

    But the technique remains restricted to only the most serious crimes and is often used as a last resort.



Parabon Helps Solve 42-Year-Old Case in Florida (Forensic – 6/15/2020)

  • On April 7, 1978, the body of 47-year-old Carolyn Cox Rose was discovered in a house off of 297-A. Carolyn, a local realtor, received a call from a potential buyer earlier that day to show the home. When she didn’t return her co-workers went to the house to check on her, discovering her body.

    Recently, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigator Kevin Coxwell partnered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Parabon NanoLab. Parabon’s results linked the DNA sample to Julius William Hill, Jr..


DNA Technology Helps Solve Nearly 30-Year-Old Cold Case (CBS 12 News – 6/15/2020)

  • DNA technology has helped crack a nearly 30-year-old cold case in the Florida Keys.

    On Feb. 15, 1991, the body of an unidentified female victim was found in a wooded area near Mile Marker 35 off the Overseas Highway. The case drew national media attention and was dubbed the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide.”

Immune Properties in Ancient DNA Found in Isolated Villages Might Benefit Humanity Today (ScienceDaily – 6/15/2020)

    • Could remnants of DNA from a now extinct human subspecies known as the Denisovans help boost the immune functions of modern humans? An international study represents the first characterizations of genes in the DNA of healthy individuals from geographically and genetically distinct populations in Indonesia.



Golden State Killer Suspect Agrees to Guilty Plea in a Deal that Spares Him Death Penalty (Los Angeles Times – 6/15/2020)

  • The former police officer accused of terrorizing California during a series of rapes and killings nearly a half-century ago attributed to the Golden State Killer is expected to plead guilty this month in a deal that will spare him the death penalty, according to multiple sources.

    Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, is set to enter a guilty plea to 13 murders and kidnapping charges from as many rapes in a yet-to-be determined Sacramento County courtroom on June 29. The crimes occurred during the 1970s and ‘80s.



Familial DNA Leads to Indictment of Cleveland Man (Forensic – 6/16/2020)

  • An initial match was not found, but additional leads were pursued by the Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force – whose members include detectives, agents, and analysts from CDP and the FBI. After further investigation, the case was identified as a candidate for BCI’s familial DNA search tool, which mines CODIS to find DNA that may match that of an offender’s relative. A familial DNA match was found and Kukla was identified as a potential suspect. Law enforcement officials obtained Kukla’s DNA and sent it for testing. His DNA matched that of the crime scene and an arrest warrant was issued.


STRmix™ Team Launches FaSTR DNA to Rapidly Analyze DNA Profiles, Assign Number of Contributors (Yahoo! – 6/16/2020)

  • The team that created STRmix™ – sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret – is launching FaSTR™ DNA, expert forensic software that rapidly analyzes DNA profiles and assigns a Number of Contributors (NoC) estimate.