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!




Woodlands DNA Lab IDs Suspect in 1974 Cold Case Murder (Houston Chronicle – 10/10/2020)

  • A DNA sample found on a single piece of garment led to a The Woodlands forensics lab recently helping identify a suspect in the 1974 abduction, rape and murder of a Fort Worth teenager.



Forensic Scientists are Racing to Save the Pangolin from Extinction (WIRED – 10/10/2020)

  • Pangolin scales are a prized ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine – and that has put the animal firmly on the endangered list. Isoscape tracking could help stop their slaughter at the source



DNA Labs International Paves New Ways for Identification with Major Breakthrough in Unique Case (CISION – 10/12/2020)

  • After partnering with Dr. Julie Schablitsky, the lab successfully utilized their bone testing method to extract DNA from the nails of a mummified, unidentified female from the 1930s. This case, which was featured on part 3 of the miniseries The Dig: A Maryland Mystery Lady Part 3 by MPT Studios, saw DNA Labs International leverage the power of its demineralization DNA testing technology.



Forensic DNA is a Quick Way to Bring Rapists to Justice. But Awareness and Testing Levels are Low in India. (Times of India – 10/13/2020)

  • In recent times, while investigative agencies from different states have shown encouraging signs by solving heinous crimes based on quality forensic DNA casework, India conducts a little over 20,000 DNA tests in a year – a negligible figure for a country with a population of over 1.3 billion. It seems the road to justice is not the same for all.



Florida Sheriff’s Office Launches Cold Case Unit (Forensic – 10/14/2020)

  • The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) launched a dedicated Cold Case Unit in late summer for the first time in agency history. With the advances in science and technology, Sheriff Rick Staly’s vision was to create a full-time unit in an effort to provide dedicated and focused attention to these old and unsolved cases.



Utah Man Arrested in Cold-Case Murder of Bookstore Owner (New York Post – 10/14/2020)

  • Police announced on the anniversary of her murder that they put the DNA through a phenotyping process, which predicts a person’s physical appearance and ancestry, the outlet reported.

    Police said DNA was collected from Durborow Wednesday and returned as a match the following day.



DOJ Grants Announced in Iowa to Help Advance Forensic Science (KWQC 6 – 10/14/2020)

  • Two U.S. Attorneys in Iowa have announced over $650,000 in Department of Justice (DOJ) grants to assist in advancing forensic science in Iowa.

    According to U.S. Attorneys Peter Deegan of the Northern District of Iowa and Marc Krickbaum of the Southern District, the grants will be used to fund crime laboratories, decrease DNA backlogs, help support forensic research, and assist law enforcement in identifying missing persons.



Toronto Police Service Uses Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform to Solve the 1984 Abduction and Murder of 9-Year-Old Christine Jessop (DNA Solves – 10/15/2020)

  • In 2019, Toronto Police investigators partnered with Othram to leverage Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing™ to build a genealogical profile from the scant quantity of highly degraded DNA that remained. The Toronto Police investigators performed genealogical research to home in on a suspect that was subsequently confirmed through traditional DNA testing.