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.

New Michigan law helps sexual assault investigations

Blue and black helixIn a follow-up to summer legislation establishing rules for the submission and collection of sexual assault kit evidence, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Tuesday a bill which calls for the creation of a kit tracking and reporting commission in order to “develop guidelines and a plan to implement a uniform statewide system to track the location, lab submission status, completion of forensic testing, and storage of sexual assault evidence kits.”

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Receives DNA Grant

DNA_TestingThe Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is receiving a $325,430 grant for the DNA Backlog Reduction Program, that some say will help solve cases and prevent future crimes. The grant was awarded by the National Institute of Justice. An estimated 10,000 DNA samples will be processed within the next two years, in Washoe County.

The not-quite-solved mystery of the severed feet

severed feetTurns out all those detached feet in sneakers that have washed up on B.C. shores since 2007 aren’t such a mystery after all — except for two feet belonging to the same unknown man.
“We may eventually figure it out,” said Bill Inkster, the former dentist who manages the identification unit for the B.C. Coroners Service.
One foot belonging to the unidentified person — DNA testing revealed it was a man — washed up in False Creek near the Edgewater Casino in August 2011. The man’s other foot turned up almost a year later at the dock by the Plaza of Nations.

DNA science key for law enforcement

cold case logoIn the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, DNA was used to genetically engineer dinosaurs, which then, of course, ran amok on an island amusement park. Three years later — not in a movie but in real life — scientists used DNA to famously clone Dolly the sheep.
Closer to home, the science is being used by local law enforcement agencies to help them catch bad guys. DNA helps them identify suspects, link crime scenes where there are no suspects, rule out suspects, and determine whether a serial offender may be involved in a crime.
In 2013, Lethbridge regional police were able to check DNA on a beer can they found inside a pickup truck that had been stolen from its owner. That DNA led them to a suspect who pleaded guilty in court to one count of possession of stolen property.

US lab takes over missing identification process

Missing PersonBode Technology, a specialized forensic and DNA analysis laboratory in the US has undertaken the identification process for Cypriot missing persons for the next two years.
Bode is already carrying on DNA analysis for 240 cases that were sent to them in mid September and the effort is for the first results to come out next month.

Houston police file charges against 19 people while clearing backlog of rape kits

GATC and tubeHOUSTON — A $4.4 million effort to test rape kits dating back to 1987 by the city of Houston has produced more than 1,000 DNA databank matches and charges against 19 people.
The Houston Chronicle reports 10 of those suspects have been arrested for the first time. Police officials gathered with politicians at City Hall on Monday to celebrate a task force of more than 40 officers who have worked to clear the nearly three-decade old backlog.

Twice violated

sole DNAThanks to a federal consent decree designed to improve police practices, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has virtually eliminated its backlog of untested sexual assault DNA collection kits. NOPD accomplished this by submitting the data to the FBI’s nationwide database. The Louisiana State Police completed a similarly massive undertaking by reducing its backlog in 2008, submitting more than 30,000 statewide DNA samples to the database. These steps represent important milestones for both agencies, but much more remains to be done to give rape victims confidence that the government is doing all it can to prosecute sex crimes.

Metro Police working to get through rape kit backlog

Backlog of sexual assault kitsLAS VEGAS — Metro Police say they have never delayed or dropped a criminal case because of a back-log of un-tested rape kits.
Metro’s response comes after a national advocacy group released data that shows only about 16 percent of the rape kits held by Metro have been tested for DNA.