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!




DNA Database Helps Identify Missing Persons (NBCDFW5 – 5/18/2019)

  • NamUs holds the second annual Missing in North Texas Day


This Genealogy Database Helped Solve Dozens of Crimes. But Its New Privacy Rules Will Restrict Access by Cops (BuzzFeed – 5/19/2019)

  • GEDmatch’s revamped genetic privacy policy could set off legal battles that go all the way to the US Supreme Court.


DNA Detective (Journal Gazette – 5/19/2019)

  • Technique that aided in identifying April Tinsley’s killer gains wider acceptance



Hearing Wednesday: Can Criminal Defendants Review DNA Analysis Software Used to Prosecute Them (Electronic Frontier Foundation – 5/20/2019)

  • On Wednesday, May 22, at 9 am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue that criminal defendants have a right to review and evaluate the source code of forensic DNA analysis software programs used to create evidence against them. The case, California v. Johnson, is on appeal to a California appeals court.


Iraqi Forensic DNA Scientists Train at Marshall (The Herald Dispatch – 5/20/2019)

  • The Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program and Science Applications International Corp. earlier this month in Huntington to provide advanced DNA validation training to 18 forensic DNA scientists with the Republic of Iraq Ministry of Interior Criminal Evidence Directorate, including its director, Major General Talib Khalil Raahi.


Duluth Police: All Backlog Sexual Assault Kits Tested, Investigations Ongoing (CBS3 – 5/21/2019)

  • Around this time last year, the Duluth Police Department was in over their heads.
    Duluth was being called the worst city in the state when it came to efficiently testing sexual assault kits with hundreds of kits, some dating back to 1993.

    Now, more than a year later, the department has submitted all of its kits and we’re learning the results of the testing.



Washington’s New DNA Law Named for Two Murdered Tacoma Girls (K5News – 5/21/2019)

  • Jennifer and Michella’s Law, which will expand Washington’s DNA database, is named after two girls murdered in Tacoma decades ago.


How a DNA Database’s New Policy is Changing Police Access and Could Hinder Solving Cold Cases (ABC News – 5/22/2019)


Canada’s 1st Forensics Body Farm is Coming this Summer (CBC – 5/22/2019)

  • The new facility in Quebec will let scientists study human decomposition in a northern climate


Scientists Attempt to Recover DNA in Turkey’s Neolithic City Site (Archaeology – 5/22/2019)

  • Science in Poland reports that an international team of researchers led by Maciej Chyleński of Adam Mickiewicz University attempted to recover and analyze genetic material from the remains of nearly 40 people who were buried some 8,500 years ago under the floors of four houses in Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in central Turkey.


Texas Senate Approves DNA Collection on Violent Arrests (KXAN – 5/22/2019)

  • Wednesday night, the Senate passed House Bill 1399, a bill allowing law enforcement to collect DNA samples of people they arrest for violent crimes like murder, rape, and assault.