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!




1987 Cold Case Gets Facial Reconstruction, Anthropology Exams and DNA, Isotope Testing (Forensic – 5/8/2020)

  • A body was discovered on Nov. 15, 1987 at the Twin Buttes Reservoir in the southwest part of Tom Green County in an advanced state of decomposition. An initial autopsy, forensic anthropology and dental examinations failed to identify the man or create any additional leads. Case information was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons database in 2013 but has yet to yield an identify.



Women in Forensics: Real-Life Forensic Superhero Solves Crime While Helping the Community (Forensic – 5/15/2020)

  • The intersection of comics with forensics and STEM is indisputable. Superheroes are known for using their powers to solve crime while they fight with villains to keep their community safe. That’s what forensic specialists do, too.


A New Tool to Sequence Circular DNA (Technology Networks – 5/15/2020)

  • University of Alberta biologists have invented a new way for sequencing circular DNA, according to a new study. The tool—called CIDER-Seq—will give other scientists rich, accurate data on circular DNA in any type of cell.

When Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore Finds a Murder Suspect Using DNA, ‘It’s a Heavy, Heavy Burden’ (People – 5/15/2020)

    • Airing on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 p.m. ET, the six-episode series follows Moore, head of the Genetic Genealogy Services for Law Enforcement Unit at Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia, as she and her team solve notorious cold cases using a combination of DNA left at crime scenes and Moore’s investigative skills, which have made her one of the most sought-after experts in the world.



DNA Testing is Radically Reshaping the Definition of Family (The Washington Post – 5/15/2020)

  • It’s time to examine how home genetic testing is starting to reshape how we relate to one another. While reporting “The Lost Family,” my new book about home DNA testing, I came to believe that the effects of this technology — which play out in vastly different ways for different people — may be moving us toward a more inclusive definition of family.



The Justice Files: New DNA Lab Ready to Help Solve Cold Cases (ABC4 – 5/15/2020)

  • The logjam to solve cold cases just got a boost from a non-profit group.

    Intermountain Forensics opened its doors this month and promises to deliver DNA testing faster and cheaper.



Johnny Lee Gates Free 43 Years After He Claimed Innocence (WLTZ – 5/15/2020)

  • Gates was convicted of killing a 19 year old woman in 1976 but claimed he was wrongfully convicted. His defense waged years of legal battles over evidence, racial prejudice and the defendant’s mental competency before the case reached a conclusion Friday afternoon.


National Institute Awards $20 Million in Renewed Funding to Forensic Science Center (UCI News – 5/18/2020)

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology has awarded $20 million in renewed funding to the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence, an interdisciplinary group of more than 60 participants at the University of California, Irvine and five other U.S. institutions of higher education.



How a True Crime Book and a DNA Hit Led to an Arrest in Spring Hill’s Coldest Case – and Maybe More (The Daily Herald – 5/18/2020)

  • Their curiosity ended in a search earlier this month that led local, state and federal law enforcement officers about 700 miles from Spring Hill, Tennessee, to northeastern Iowa, where they ultimately arrested 58-year-old Clark Perry Baldwin and charged him with murder in the 1991 death of 33-year-old Pamela Aldridge McCall and her unborn child.



Province Won’t Seek Outside Help to Investigate Mass Killing (CBC – 5/18/2020)

  • The Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service won’t seek help from outside the province as it investigates the deaths of 22 people in last month’s mass killing, even though experts say the sheer size of the investigation poses a challenge.



Earliest Known Man with Native American DNA Ancestry Lived in Siberia (New Scientist – 5/20/2020)

  • A man who lived in Siberia about 14,000 years ago is the earliest known person in the world to have the specific mix of genes seen in people with Native American ancestry, analysis of DNA from a fossilised tooth has revealed.