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!




Familial DNA, Search Highlight Finalist Cases in 2020 DNA Hit of the Year Program (Forensic – 6/26/2020)

  • On Wednesday, Gordon Thomas Honeywell reveled 2020’s DNA Hit of the Year—a wild case out of Brazil that included the generation of more than 580 DNA profiles. Out of the 50 submitted cases from 20 countries, six finalists were chosen. The criteria for submission and selection is the generation of a cold hit against a reference database in the last 60 months.



SNP Analysis IDs Washington Jane Doe 43 Years After Murder (Forensic – 6/26/2020)

  • After nearly 43 years of working to identify “Precious Jane Doe,” Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit, Cold Case Team and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office have positively identified her.


DNA Evidence Points to 8-Year-Old’s Killer After 38 Years (CNN – 6/29/2020)

  • Police in Columbus, Ohio, said Friday they cracked the cold case on who abducted, sexually assaulted and killed the 8-year-old, all thanks to genealogical testing and a podcast tracing the history of the case.

Frozen in Time: the DNA Sample that Led to the Arrest of Joseph DeAngelo (ABC10 – 6/29/2020)

    • Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo has a court hearing Monday, in which he is expected to plead guilty.


      However, he might still be roaming free were it not for the thorough work of Dr. Peter Speth 40 years ago. The 84-year-old shared his story with ABC10 News.



Microbial Forensics: A Tool Used in Forensic Investigation (Legal Desire Media & Insights – 6/29/2020)

  • The microbial investigation is the same as a forensic investigation like crime scene investigation, maintaining chain of custody, gathering of evidence, handling, preservation ad collection of evidence for analyzing them. The additional thing is the identification of the pathogen by the use of strains to find the family in which it belongs.



Microalgae Research Advances Investigations of Homicides Involving Water (Forensic – 6/29/2020)

  • Australian first research conducted at Murdoch University is advancing the understanding of forensic investigations into crime-related deaths that have occurred in water bodies.

    Led by Paola Magni, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at Murdoch University, the research performed in collaboration with the Murdoch University Algae R&D Centre has investigated several methods for extracting Australian microalgae from four different common clothing fabrics, when investigating such deaths.


Complex Family Trees, Genetic Genealogy Mark the Last of the Finalists in 2020 DNA Hit of the Year Program (Forensic – 6/30/2020)

  • The last pieces of the finalist puzzle for the 2020 DNA Hit of the Year come from China, Washington and California.



Golden State Killer Admits to Dozens of Rapes, 13 Murders (Forensic – 6/30/2020)

  • A former police officer who terrorized California as a serial burglar and rapist and went on to kill more than a dozen people while evading capture for decades pleaded guilty Monday to murders attributed to the Golden State Killer.