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!




Identical Triplets Who ‘Tried to Exploit Their Identical DNA’ Jailed for Gun Crimes (CNN – 9/6/2019)

  • People who have been sexually assaulted, be they adult or children, can expect slightly different procedures depending on their state or territory. The general principles, however, remain the same.



Advocates Implore Congress to Reauthorize Funds for Backlogged DNA Rape Kits Before Sept. 30 Expiration (The Washington Post – 9/7/2019)

  • Debbie Smith, whose case inspired federal law, pleads with Congress to restore hope for victims of sex crimes


Cold Case Killer Caught After Relatives Unwittingly Send Their DNA to Genealogy Website (Mirror – 9/8/2019)

  • The horrific double murder of Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, and her boyfriend Jay Cook, 20, whop vanished on road trip to Seattle in November 1987, turned into a cold case for 30 years, until relatives of the killer were tracked down


Forensic Proteomics, a New Tool for Crime Labs and Anthropology (UC Davis – 9/9/2019)

  • But DNA is a relatively fragile molecule that breaks down easily. That’s where proteomics, the new science of analyzing proteins, comes in. By reading the sequence of amino acids from fragments of protein, scientists can work backwards to infer the sequence of DNA that produced the protein.


Forensic Science Isn’t ‘Reliable’ or ‘Unreliable’ – It Depends on the Questions You’re Trying to Answer (The Conversation – 9/10/2019)

  • How can the same technique simultaneously be the forensic gold standard and contribute to such a dramatic miscarriage of justice? Is forensic science so unreliable that none of it should be admissible in our courts?


Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity’s Ancestor, on a Computer (The New York Times – 9/10/2019)

  • Now researchers like Dr. Mounier are using computers and mathematical techniques to reconstruct the appearance of fossils they have yet to find.



Forensic Scientists Continue to Identify Remains from 9/11 (ABC7NY – 9/11/2019)

  • In the most sophisticated crime lab in North America, one of history’s greatest forensic investigations continues to unfold.

    After nearly twenty years, scientists are still identifying the remains of the victims of 9/11.



Terri Lynn Hollis, 11, was Murdered on Thanksgiving Day 1972. California Investigators Didn’t Give Up on Her Case (USA Today – 9/12/2019)

  • After 2,000 interviews over nearly half a century, Irvine said an analysis of public databases by Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs Inc. led them to a relative of Brown. Police had preserved a DNA sample from Hollis’ body, and it matched. Authorities then dug up Brown’s body in Arizona to confirm the connection.