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!




Virginia Department of Forensic Science Achieves 15,000 DNA Data Bank Hit (Forensic – 9/3/2021)

  • Governor Ralph Northam announced the Department of Forensic Science reached its 15,000th DNA Data Bank “hit.” This is a significant milestone in the history of the Data Bank, which was created in Virginia in 1989.

    A “hit” occurs when a DNA profile from an unsolved crime is a match with a DNA profile from an offender or another crime scene in the DNA Data Bank. This ability to link previously unsolved crimes to an offender, arrestee, or another case in the Data Bank provides law enforcement with investigative leads, often in cases that have gone cold.



GCU Goes Online with Forensic Science Program (GCU – 9/7/2021)

  • GCU created its Master of Science in Forensic Science by partnering with Carolina Biological, a company that worked with GCU to design kits that allow students to do lab work at home.For example, for an advanced DNA analysis course, students will get slides with dried fluids on them and, using dyes, be able to analyze them under a compound microscope also issued to students – to keep.

    Another lab will include comparing fibers with chemical tests, and much more.


How 9/11 Impacted the Technology and Techniques of Forensic Science (Syracuse University – 9/7/2021)

  • The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed so much of American life in the coming years, exposing major security vulnerabilities but also bolstering international coordination, crisis planning and mass disaster response.

    Strategies and methods developed at Ground Zero in the days following Sept. 11 now benefit forensic labs around the world. That’s according to Kathleen Corrado, executive director of the Forensic and National Security Science Institute (FNSSI) in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.


2 More 9/11 Victims ID’ed Days Before 20th Anniversary (Forensic – 9/8/2021)

  • Two days ago, 1,108 of the 2,753 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks remained unidentified. Yesterday, that number decreased as the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) confirmed two new identifications—the first since October 2019.

    As part of the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of the U.S., Dorothy Morgan and a man whose name is being withheld at the request of his family have been identified through DNA analysis.


DNA, Fingerprints Link Man to 3 Homicides in 2000 (Forensic – 9/8/2021)

  • Over a 14 month span in 2000-2001, three South Florida women were brutally murdered, their bodies publicly discarded. The cases made headlines but soon receded into the background. However, thoughts of the victims and what they suffered never left the minds of dogged homicide detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Miami Police Department.

    It took two decades of relentless investigative work, required intergovernmental cooperation at the highest levels across two continents and involved exhuming the remains of an individual to finally determine that the three women were murdered by a single person, a suspected serial killer.


Second Phase of Forensic Work to ID Argentine Soldiers is Underway (Forensic – 9/08/2021)

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun a second phase of forensic work to identify Argentine soldiers buried on the Falklands Islands (Malvinas).

    The Second Humanitarian Project Plan (HPP 2) will involve the exhumation of human remains belonging to a number of individuals located within one grave known as C.1.10 at Darwin cemetery. The team will also assess an area called Teal Inlet/Caleta Trullo to investigate whether there is a grave that contains remains of Argentine soldiers.



Forensic Teams Look Back at 20-Year Mission to Identify World Trade Center Remains (ABC News – 9/9/2021)

  • Mark Desire, assistant director of the OCME Department of Forensic Biology and manager of the World Trade Center DNA Identification Team, told reporters during a video call Wednesday that the investigation has been challenging, but after all this time, the team’s mission remains the same: to help the families of the victims find some closure.