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!





New Interview with Paul Fronczak (WRBL – 11/6/2020)

  • A southern Nevada man who’s been trying to solve multiple mysteries surrounding his own identity says he’s made a lot of progress in the eight years since his quest began.



Opinion: The Forensic Sciences Have a Diversity, Inclusion Problem (Forensic – 11/6/2020)

  • A recent decision by the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) to eliminate an important and productive diversity committee (the Anthropology Diversity & Inclusion Committee, for which I was a Co-Chair)—and my consequent resignation as Chair of the AAFS Diversity Outreach Committee (DOC)—has sparked intense discussions in the forensic community about the AAFS’ stance on diversifying a problematically homogenous field and is mobilizing forensic scientists to confront issues of exclusion, bias, and racism and speak out about the importance of diversity.



Arizona’s Report on Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls Has Over 50 Recommendations (Forensic – 11/6/2020)

  • Arizona’s Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has posted its final report, including dozens of specific legislative, law enforcement and other policy recommendations to address the ongoing crisis.



Isotopes in Bones Conclude Early Big-game Hunters Were Female (Forensic – 11/6/2020)

  • For centuries, historians and scientists mostly agreed that when early human groups sought food, men hunted and women gathered. However, a 9,000-year-old female hunter burial in the Andes Mountains of South America reveals a different story, according to new research conducted at the University of California, Davis.



What is Forensic Science? (Science Focus – 11/8/2020)

  • Crime scene investigators in plastic overalls are a common sight on TV dramas, but what’s the science behind what they do?



DNA Doe Project Working to ID Victims of California’s Deadliest Wildfire (Forensic – 11/9/2020)

  • In January 2019, Selden was put in contact with the DNA Doe Project to explore using whole genome sequencing, bioinformatics, and investigative genetic genealogy to attempt to identify the remaining victims. Since that time DDP has been working with the Sacramento County Coroner and ANDE Corporation in this endeavor.  Several additional identifications have been made as a result, with ANDE generously covering all costs.



DNA Leads to Arrest in 22-Year-Old Phoenix Woman’s 1984 Cold Case Murder (FOX News – 11/9/2020)

  • Kizziar was arrested after police said his DNA matched DNA from the crime scene, according to reports. The DNA analysis was conducted last week.



New DNA Technology Helps Solve 31-Year-Old Kansas City Murder Case (KCTV – 11/10/2020)

  • Advanced DNA testing revealed the rapist and killer is Cox’s own cousin, Donald Cox Jr. He died years ago from an overdose.



A Coffee Cup Tied Him to a 1972 Murder. He Killed Himself Hours Before He was Convicted, Police Say. (The Washington Post – 11/10/2020)

  • For 47 years, the case remained cold, with little evidence of who assaulted and murdered Loomis — until last year, when a DNA sample from a coffee cup matched semen found on Loomis’s boot. Police said they used genetic genealogy to trace it to Terrence Miller, who was charged last April in her death.



Investigators Work to Identify Unknown Teen Boy Found Dead in Trabuco Canyon in 1996 (KCAL – 11/10/2020)

  • Orange County Sheriff’s investigators Tuesday released a new sketch in the hopes of identifying a teen John Doe whose body was found in Trabuco Canyon nearly 24 years ago.



Editorial Article: Probabilistic Genotyping: The Forensic Lab Software Used to Crack Cold Cases (SelectScience – 11/11/2020)

  • Dr. Bruce Budowle discusses how probabilistic genotyping is helping forensic labs identify low-level, degraded DNA samples