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!




Forensic Genetic Genealogy Students Develop Hands-On Skills While Helping Solve Cold Case (University of New Haven – 11/12/2021)

  • Working with the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization that assists law enforcement with investigating unsolved cases, McDermott and five of her classmates were completing their final practicum requirement for their graduate certificate in forensic genetic genealogy at the University of New Haven. They helped identify a woman who had been found deceased behind a home in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2017. Forensic DNA profiling had not been able to identify her.



Genetic Genealogy ID’s 1996 Murder Suspect (Forensic – 11/12/2021)

  • In February 1996, Terrance Paquette arrived at the Lil’ Champ Food Store between 5 and 6 a.m. to prepare for a 6 a.m. opening. Within a few hours, he was murdered by an unknown assailant, having been stabbed 73 times. He had only moved to Orlando a few years earlier, worked 60 hours weeks, and did not have many known associates. There were no witnesses to the murder, and investigators quickly exhausted all leads trying to find those responsible for Paquette’s brutal death.

    In Fall 2019, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office engaged the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to assist with the case. FLDE contracted Othram to use advanced DNA testing to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile that could be used to generate new leads that might identify Paquette’s killer. Othram used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a comprehensive genealogical profile.


How Recreating Faces from DNA Can Help Solve Cold Cases (Insider – 11/14/2021)

  • Mark Shriver and his team at Penn State want to make a replica of your face using solely DNA. This kind of technology could help solve cold cases involving unidentified remains.


Struggling to ID its Dead, Mexico Turns to Tennessee’s Body Farm (Los Angeles Times – 11/14/2021)

  • More than 93,000 people across Mexico are officially classified as missing — a staggering total that points to a crisis of not only violence but also forensics. In recent years there has been a growing recognition that many of the missing may be in government custody — their bodies scattered among the tens of thousands of corpses that have passed through morgues without being identified and then buried in common graves. Mexican authorities have vowed to put names to the human remains in their care. That is why Robles and 23 other Mexican crime scene investigators, forensic archaeologists and morgue workers spent five days last month at the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center, a world-famous research center better known as the Body Farm.


How Your Family Tree Could Catch a Killer (The New Yorker – 11/15/2021)

  • Genetic genealogists like CeCe Moore are cracking cold cases and transforming policing. As DNA analysis redefines ancestry and anonymity, what knowledge should we be permitted to unlock?


DNA Technology Solves 35-Year-Old Bedford Murder Case (FOX 4 KDFW – 11/15/2021)

  • It’s been more than 35 years since Love was found dead inside of her Bedford apartment. The case passed through the hands of 15 different detectives until finally, police were able to match DNA from the crime scene to identify her killer.


Discovery Life Sciences Selects Othram as Forensic Casework Commercialization Partner (OTHRAM – 11/16/2021)

  • Othram Inc., the leading forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, and Discovery Life Sciences™ (Discovery), the biospecimen and biomarker specialists™, today announced their partnership to pair Discovery’s innovative forensic genomic research capabilities with Othram’s human identification tools and services for law enforcement.


Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Partner with Othram to Identify Oneida Jane Doe (Forensic – 11/17/2021)

  • In October 1986, a hunter in Two Mile Canyon, outside Malad, Idaho discovered a partial human skull. The hunter reported the finding to authorities, and led officers to the location of the discovery. As it turns out, five years prior, the partial remains of two girls were found in the area, both homicide victims, who had disappeared in 1978 from the Pocatello area. The two homicide victims were Tina Anderson and Patricia Campbell, ages 12 and 15 respectively, who’s deaths remain unsolved. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office has not ruled out the possibility that the remains found in 1986 might be connected to the two homicide victims from five years earlier.



The DNA of Roma People Has Long Been Misused, Scientists Reveal (The New York Times – 11/17/2021)

  • An op-ed in Nature calls for higher ethical standards in the usage and analysis of genetic information from the Romani, a marginalized group living primarily in Europe.



‘Science Solved This.’ Sheriff Says DNA Led to Arrest in 88-Year-Old Lennon Woman’s Cold Case Murder (mLive – 11/17/2021)

  • DNA evidence placed the man who has been charged in the 1997 death of 88-year-old Mary Prieur at the scene of the crime, according to Genesee County law enforcement officials.

    Michael Bur, 41, of Lennon has been charged with single counts of felony murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping in the death of Prieur.



How Do Police Forensic Scientists Investigate a Case? A Clandestine Gravesite Recovery Expert Explains (The Conversation – 11/17/2021)

  • You don’t have to be in law enforcement to solve crimes or identify murder suspects.

    A Denton County woman is proving that as one of the country’s leading experts in using genealogy to track down killers, rapists and other dangerous people.



Denton County Woman Helps Police Track Down Violent Criminals Through Forensic Genealogy (CBS DFW 11 – 11/17/2021)

  • 14-year old Sherri Ann Jarvis was found hours after being sexually assaulted and murdered in 1980, but it took decades to restore her identity



1991 Homicide Victim Known as ‘Tiger Lady’ Identified (AP News – 11/18/2021)

  • Authorities will provide more details Friday about how they identified the body of a 1991 homicide victim in New Jersey known by her tattoo as “Tiger Lady” as a missing teenager from Pennsylvania.