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!


This week in forensic science header

Utah WWII Sailor Finally Laid to Rest after DNA Helps Identify Remains (KSL – 5/26/2017)

  • A Utah sailor who was lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was laid to rest in his hometown of Monroe Friday.


Guatemalan Researcher Urges Speedy Resolve to Missing and Murdered Women Cold Cases (CBC News – 5/27/2017)

  • A Guatemalan researcher says time is of the essence when it comes to gathering evidence in cold cases involving Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.


Meet a Forensic Ornithologist, Who Identifies What’s Left After Avians and Airplanes Collide (PRI – 5/28/2017)

  • Dove and her team at the Smithsonian Institution’s Feather Identification Lab see about 9,000 of those birds annually — or what’s left of them. Sometimes, she says, the lab receives just a feather or two. Other times, they get “snarge” — a loose term for downy fragments and smashed bones and guts.


Virginia Studies DNA Database Expansion (The Washington Times – 5/29/2017)

  • Virginia officials are studying a DNA database expansion to include more people convicted of misdemeanors.


Mummy DNA Unravels Ancient Egyptians’ Ancestry (Nature – 5/30/2017)

  • Genetic analysis reveals a close relationship with Middle Easterners, not central Africans.


How a Rare DNA Match Cracked Open a Cold Case of Two Young Women Dumped on L.A. Freeways (Los Angeles Times – 5/31/2017)

  • Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that investigators were unable to match DNA from the victims’ cases to state and national DNA databases. They then went through “exhaustive protocols” to request a familial DNA search, a controversial method that looks for partial matches that indicate the relative of a suspect.


Study: Men, Women Equal at Recognizing Faces (Forensic Magazine – 5/31/2017)

  • However, in a new study, Penn State psychologists have found that is untrue—men and women are actually equal in their ability to recognize and categorize facial expressions.


Behind the Scenes of New Jersey State Police’s Improved Forensics Lab (NJTV – 5/31/2017)

  • When police recover crime guns, bullets or shell casings they take them to one of seven labs for forensics processing — a drawn out system that state police commanders recently cut from 10 months to 48 hours in their one-stop shop. They invited the media to a behind-the-scenes tour, starting with intake detectives.