Backlog delays evidence processing at state crime labs

Helix3Victims of violent crimes and the officers who investigate sometimes are left waiting for answers due to the backlog of cases in the state’s forensics laboratories.
The Virginia Department of Forensic Science has four laboratories and a plethora of staff and equipment to analyze minute properties in evidence, from strands of DNA to the chemical makeup of methamphetamine.

Remains Found on Abandoned Property are Hannah Graham’s

Hannah GrahamHuman remains found during the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham have been identified as those of the 18-year-old, officials said Friday.

FBI conducting DNA testing of missing Nelson teen’s car

Evidence Bag1The FBI is conducting DNA tests to determine if the man charged in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was linked to Alexis Murphy’s murder last year, according to Angela Taylor, Murphy’s aunt.

Identifying The Dead In Ukraine’s Simmering War

Ukraine War VictimsDNIPROPETROVSK – Last week, in this central Ukrainian city, a public farewell was bid to 21 soldiers, even if their names were never determined. The coffins, draped with Ukrainian flags, were brought to the the square between the Opera and Ballet Theaters on Karl Marx Avenue in Dnipropetrovsk, the country’s fourth-largest city.

DNA analysis gives 11 bodies a name and family history in WWI reburial

Commonwealth War Graves CommissionBOIS-GRENIER, France (AP) — Eleven British casualties of World War I who got a name and family history through cutting-edge DNA research have been officially reburied with some of their descendants in attendance.

DNA yields secrets of human pioneer

Universal ManUniversal human: This reconstruction is of a different modern human from Romania 43,000 years ago. But it gives some clues to what the Siberian man may have looked like. This population was not long out of Africa and genetically midway between Europeans and Asians.

NIJ Sponsored Event: Live Two-Day Seminar on Cold Case Investigations

Justice DeptThe Forensic Technology Center of Excellence will be hosting a free two-day online seminar on The Science, Law and Politics of Cold Case Investigations on October 30-31 in order to answer critical questions about cold cases and what it takes to resolve them.

Missouri Southern opens new DNA lab

dna12Missouri Southern State University cut the ribbon Tuesday on a new DNA laboratory that features cutting-edge technology for the students and local businesses who will be able to use it.

Officials Gather For Rape-kit Backlog Summit

Blue and black helixCLEVELAND (AP) — Law enforcement and public officials from Detroit and Memphis, Tennessee, are in Cleveland to talk about how to handle the large backlog of rape kits that await lab testing in each of those cities.
The officials are coming together this week for the first-ever Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Summit.

The 23rd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine

ialmDubai-650x120-2The 23rd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine is one of the most important Events in the calendar for those Professionals and Academics involved in the practice and development of the Bio-Medicolegal Sciences, the main Triennial Congress of the IALM to be held in Dubai from the 19th to the 21st of January, 2015.Supported by both the Government of Dubai and the Dubai Police, the Congress boasts a rich Scientific Programme with a broad range of topics of current interest, presented by prominent Experts in the field and accomplished in a spirit of collegiality and with an ethos which encourages transcultural dissemination of knowledge.
Register here.

New Nevada DNA swab law sees little pushback

Nevada DNA CollectionA Nevada law that requires DNA samples be taken from every person arrested on a felony charge — and criticized by civil rights groups as an invasion of privacy — has seen surprisingly little pushback in the four months it has been in practice.
Before the law went into effect July 1, cheek swabs were used to collect DNA only from anyone convicted of a felony. But last year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 243, often called “Brianna’s Law,” named after 19-year-old Reno woman Brianna Denison, who was raped and murdered in 2008. James Biela was later convicted and sentenced to die for the crimes.

Battelle to Test Forensic DNA Tools Under Federal Grants; Rich Guerrieri Comments

Blue and white helixBattelle has received more than $800,000 in federal grants from the National Institute of Justice to assess and evaluate new tools for probing DNA evidence.

A Missed Opportunity to Find Rapists

sexual assault kitsChecks of police department storage facilities often turn up hundreds, even thousands, of untested rape kits. Some of those kits contain saliva, semen, blood, hair and other DNA evidence taken from victims of recent sexual assaults. Others have been sitting on the shelves unopened for years without analysis or entry of any profiles into state and national databases. Each untested kit represents a botched chance to solve a case and identify other crimes perpetrated by an assailant.

A Century Later, Relics Emerge From a War Frozen in Time

Italian CannonNational Geographic- The first cold war was fought during the First World War.
Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops clashed at altitudes up to 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) with temperatures as low as -22°F (-30°C) in the Guerra Bianca, or White War, named for its wintry theater. Never before had battles been waged on such towering peaks or in such frigid conditions.
Now, a century later, the warming world is revealing the buried past, as relics and corpses are melting free of their icy tombs.

Unsolved murders to get new scrutiny

helix2CLEARWATER – Because there is no statute of limitations on murder, unsolved homicide cases are never closed. But they are sometimes put on the back burner after months or years with no new leads.
Now, thanks to a pending federal grant, Clearwater investigators are preparing to dust off the files on 20 unsolved murders that occurred years or decades ago.