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!




Toledo Serial Killer Linked to Possible Human Remains Found in Illinois (Toledo Blade – 9/4/2020)

  • Authorities are analyzing bones found in Illinois to determine if they are the remains of a woman whom a convicted Toledo serial killer claims he killed about 15 years ago.



DNA Links Accused Cyberstalker to Texas Woman’s Slaying 17 Years Ago (FOX News – 9/6/2020)

  • KWTX-TV reports that Castillo was arrested and jailed in January on charges of cyberstalking real estate agents in the Waco area with lewd messages and threats to rape their children.


40 Years in the Dark: How Genetic Genealogy Solved the Helene Pruszynski Murder Case (Denver 9News – 9/6/2020)

  • Authorities found Helene’s killer using science that couldn’t have been imagined even a few years ago.


The Oldest Neanderthal DNA of Central-Eastern Europe (Science Daily – 9/8/2020)

  • A new study reports the oldest mitochondrial genome of a Neanderthal from Central-Eastern Europe. The mitochondrial genome of the tooth, discovered at the site of Stajnia Cave in Poland, is closer to a Neanderthal specimen from the Caucasus than to the contemporaneous Neanderthals of Western Europe


The Controversial Company Using DNA to Sketch the Faces of Criminals (Nature – 9/9/2020)

  • Parabon Nanolabs shot to fame using DNA and genealogy analysis to solve cold cases. Then it had to change tack.


When Did We Become Fully Human? What Fossils and DNA Tell Us About the Evolution of Modern Intelligence (Phys Org – 9/9/2020)

  • did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there’s remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archeology—tools, artifacts, cave art—suggest that complex technology and cultures, “behavioral modernity,” evolved more recently: 50,000-65,000 years ago.


Modern Forensics Offers Clues in a 2,600-Year-Old Biblical Mystery (CBS News – 9/10/2020)

  • Researchers using modern techniques to scrutinize ancient texts have concluded that literacy may have been far more common in biblical times in the Holy Land than previously suspected.



DNA Leads Officers to Suspect in 2011 Stranger Sexual Assault, Madison Police Say (Channel 3000 – 9/4/2020)

  • The case was an unsolved sexual assault until there was a DNA hit from CODIS on Jan. 17, 2020. In April, police obtained a search warrant for Salgado-Arroyo’s DNA and detectives interviewed him. A month later, police received a Wisconsin State Crime Lab report stating that Salgado-Arroyo’s DNA is the source from the evidence collected in 2011, the complaint said.