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!




UK and EU Law Enforcement Boost Co-operation on DNA Databases (Gov.UK – 6/14/2019)

  • Prüm framework will assist law enforcement agencies in Britain and the EU to identify criminals and crack cold cases.


China Announces Hefty Fines for Unauthorized Collection of DNA (Nature – 6/14/2019)

  • A new law formalizes restrictions on the collection and use of people’s genetic data.


Privacy Concerns Don’t Stop People from Putting Their DNA on the Internet to Solve Crimes (TC Palm – 6/14/2019)

  • But those offered the chance to participate actively in the drama of criminal justice often find privacy to be of little concern, my research shows.


MSP Using DNA to Identify Missing Remains (FOX 47 – 6/15/2019)

    • There are 314 cases of unidentified remains in the state of Michigan.

      A Sparrow forensic team is working with the Michigan State Police to solve some of those mysteries.


DNA Leads Colorado Police to Arrest of Murder Suspect in 32-Year-Old Cold Case (USA Today – 6/16/2019)

  • Authorities who used a DNA sample to create an image of the possible suspect in a 32-year-old murder case have arrested a suburban Denver man in the strangulation of a young soldier at Fort Carson.


Lawyers in a Murder Trial Clash Over a DNA Forensics Method (Wired – 6/17/2019)

  • In the first trial in which a suspect, William Talbott II, was identified using genetic genealogy, the two sides are sparring over the limits of the technique.


1968 Cold Case Solved Thanks to New DNA Testing (KELO – 6/17/2019)

  • Rapid City authorities have solved a cold case murder from over 50 years ago thanks to new DNA testing.



Golden State Killer Case Selected as 2019 DNA Hit of the Year (Yahoo – 6/17/2019)

  • Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs (GTH-GA) has announced that the Golden State Killer case was selected as the 2019 DNA Hit of the Year. The case was selected from 70 cases submitted from 20 countries.


The End of the Age of Paternity Secrets (The Atlantic – 6/19/2019)


Man Murdered in 1960s Identified Through Genetic Genealogy: ‘All These Years and People Still Care,’ Sister Says (ABC News – 6/19/2019)

  • A murdered man discovered in a Maryland trash can in 1985 has finally been identified through genetic genealogy, police said.


We Need to Fix Forensics. But How? (The Washington Post – 6/20/2019)

  • I have found that there are lots of people willing to talk about the problems with forensics in the courtroom. But solutions are harder to come by — especially solutions that would be politically feasible, findable, and fit the current framework of our judicial-legal system. So I decided to seek solutions from those who work in the areas of law, science and forensics.


Forensics Researchers Reveal Pubic Hair’s Unique Crime Solving Potential (Inverse – 6/20/2019)

  • While the rest of the world was debating the ethics, privacy concerns, and utility of using fitness trackers or DNA to solve crimes, a lab in California was slowly mining the forensic power of pubic hair. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, they reveal that pubic hair has some serious crime-busting potential — perhaps even more so than hair from other parts of the body.



Estimating the Time of Death Under Water (Phys Org – 6/20/2019)

  • Murdoch University forensic entomologist Dr. Paola Magni is researching barnacle growth on shoes and clothing to help detectives figure out how long a body has been in the water.



UT Body Farm Attracting People Worldwide for Forensic Training (WBIR – 6/20/2019)

  • Crime scene investigators from around the world are turning their focus this summer to the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee.

    48 law enforcement officers from across the U.S. just left after completing a training course for recovering human remains.



In 1976, a Young Couple was Killed While Camping. In 2019, Police Tricked the Suspect into Handing Over His DNA (ABC News – 6/20/2019)

  • In the summer of 1976, David Schuldes and his fiance, Ellen Matheys, were enjoying a weekend camping trip in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, when they were shot dead, according to court documents.

    The double murder went unsolved for decades.

    This year, police zeroed in on the suspected killer, Raymand Vannieuwenhoven, and tricked him into handing over his DNA, according to documents.