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!




How World’s First Genetic Detective Caught British Girl’s Killer After 36 Years (Mirror – 6/20/2020)

  • 11-year-old Julie Fuller was raped and murdered in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1986. This is the story of how CeCe Moore identified Vietnam veteran James McNichols as the killer.



‘The Wondrous Map’: How Unlocking Human DNA Changed the Course of Science (The Guardian – 6/21/2020)

  • Thanks to the success of the Human Genome Project, 20 years ago this week, scientists can track biology and disease at a molecular level


Study Pioneers Use of Fingerprinting Technique in Wildlife Crime (Forensic – 6/22/2020)

  • A team of scientists and experienced investigators from the University of Portsmouth have joined the battle to stop the pangolin becoming extinct, by adapting forensic fingerprinting techniques that lift finger-marks from the scales of these endangered animals.

Forensic Experts to Train Costa Rican Counterparts, Create Model for Central America (Forensic – 6/22/2020)

    • The geographical location of Costa Rica provides a bridge between criminal networks in South and North America. And while the forensic science department within the country has high quality standards and has made progress toward accreditation, there are continuous efforts needed to strengthening the criminal justice system. Now, a team of forensic experts from West Virginia University has partnered with the Costa Rican government to train and support the country’s scientists, crime scene investigators and medical examiners for the next two years.



Barron County Remains Found in 2017 Identified (KSTP 5 – 6/23/2020)

  • Relating to a homicide that happened in December 2017 in Barron County,  a second victim has been identified using genetic genealogy as of Tuesday.

    Working in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the DNA Doe Project has identified the remains recovered from a wooded area south of Barron, Wisconsin, as Gary Albert Herbst. He was believed to be a homicide victim based on evidence of a gunshot wound to the head, according to a news release.



DNA Cold Case: Colorado Police Seek Suspect Identified in 1963 Killing of Girl Scout (KIRO 7 – 6/23/2020)

  • Nearly 57 years after a Colorado Girl Scout counselor was found raped and strangled in her tent during a camping trip, authorities say that genetic genealogy has helped them identify her killer.


Hunt for Golden State Killer Recalled in HBO’s ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ (The Mercury News – 6/24/2020)

  • Author and true-crime buff Michelle McNamara devoted the final years of her life trying to track down the shadowy predator she dubbed the “Golden State Killer” — a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s.

    That habit fueled the 2018 bestseller “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” which was completed posthumously after McNamara’s sudden death two years earlier at the age of 46. And now her book is the basis for a riveting six-part HBO documentary series of the same name.