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!
From March 30 to April 1, 2022, the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Training and Technical Assistance Program will host the Forensic Genetic Genealogy Virtual Training.Open to law enforcement, attorneys, and crime analysts, this event will provide an opportunity for all applicable BJA-funded grantees and non-funded jurisdictions to discuss best practices, identify approaches to common challenges, and collaborate with partners to further the successful implementation of Forensic Genetic Genealogy into their investigative workflows.
A group of George Mason University forensic science students are preparing an experiment with hopes they will demonstrate how honey can help lead authorities to missing human remains.
Anthony Falsetti, an associate professor in GMU’s forensic science program, and others say proteins in bee honey contain troves of biochemical information that’s already widely used by scientists and government agencies to detect illegal pesticides in green products and fruit, or for measuring the amounts of heavy metal or microplastic pollutants in the air.
In addition to more than 45 court appearances, McClary contributes some of his expertise to the AAFS. He has worn many hats at the academy, including chairing the Questioned Documents Section, which studies documents to determine their authenticity. He has served on the board of directors, as vice president and finally president starting in February 2021.In his presidency, McClary has worked to uphold the AAFS mission to provide collaborative research, quality education and recognize leadership to advance forensic science. He helped implement a strategic plan that included a rebranding initiative and website overhaul, pivoting to digital and hybrid conference models, and continuing to digitize content into an on-demand format — making it easier for those domestically and internationally to gain access.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is partnering with legislators on a proposal to ban victim DNA from being entered in searchable databases that could eventually identify them as criminal suspects in unrelated, future cases.
A bill addressing law enforcements use of genetic genealogy DNA databases like GEDmatch and Ancestry failed to pass the Utah House of Representatives late last week amid concerns it was not specific enough to prevent police “fishing expeditions.”
The bill would have been the third in the nation to specifically address the use of third-party genetic genealogy databases in police investigations.
On Aug. 3, 1980, a landowner in Northern Snohomish County discovered human skeletal remains while walking on his property. Many approaches were used to attempt to generate leads to an identity. A dental exam was performed to enable a search of dental records for missing persons but there were no matches to a missing person. A clay reconstruction of the homicide victim’s face was developed and released to the public by the end of 1980, but yielded no clues as to who this unknown man was. Eventually the case went cold.
After spending years processing mock murders in the cramped confines of a small storage room inside Filley Hall, forensic science students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are now getting to stretch their crime scene investigation skills at the Crime Scene House on East Campus.
It’s a game-changer for the students, said Michael Adamowicz, director of the forensic science program, and Larry Barksdale, assistant professor of practice with the program. Previously, students had to work in teams of two in the small room processing the mock crime scene for the forensic science capstone course held each spring. With the interior of a house now available, the whole crew can work together, creating an atmosphere much more akin to real life.
Marshall University’s forensic lab will have a chance to do national work in missing and identified persons cases after a bill was approved by the West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday. Senate Bill 593, sponsored by Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, would acknowledge by statute the State Police’s designation of Marshall University’s lab as a criminal justice agency, which will give Marshall access to national databases for missing persons, relatives of missing persons and unidentified human remains. The access would be given as part of the work the lab performs for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, the bill said.