Iowa Attorney General’s Office launches rape kit audit

Blue Helix4CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has launched a statewide audit of untested rape kits Tuesday, surveying more than 400 of Iowa’s law enforcement agencies to gauge how many of these kits are in Iowa.

Cold cases could be solved thanks to grant for SHSU researchers

body outlineThe grant allows Dr. Sheree Hughes-Stamm and her colleague Dr. Bruce Budowle from the University of North Texas to investigate the best methods for extracting DNA from badly decomposed remains through a process called next generation DNA sequencing.

DNA evidence uncovers major upheaval in Europe near end of last Ice Age

Human skull1DNA evidence lifted from the ancient bones and teeth of people who lived in Europe from the Late Pleistocene to the early Holocene – spanning almost 30,000 years of European prehistory – evidence shows a major shift in the population around 14,500 years ago, during a period of severe climatic instability.

Law Enforcement Agencies to Submit Untested DNA Kits

DNA TestsRICHMOND, VA (NEWSPLEX) — Attorney General Mark Herring’s Office and the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences are moving forward with plans to test thousands of sexual assault evidence and physical evidence recovery kits.
Virginia has finalized a contract with Bode Cellmark Forensics to do the testing at a Northern Virginia facility.

Mounties to collect about 2,000 DNA samples in unprecedented attempt at solving Manitoba girl’s murder

teresa_robinsonHer remains were found in such bad shape, residents thought she had been mauled by a bear.
Now, almost a year after the killing of Teresa Robinson, 11, in a remote northern Manitoba First Nation community and under pressure to solve the case, RCMP investigators are trying to gather DNA samples from about 2,000 local men and boys.

Parabon Awarded US DoD Contract to Aid Identification of Unknown Remains

US ArmyReston, Va. (February 1, 2016) — Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced today a contract award from the U.S. Army Research Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency to extend the range and sensitivity of the company’s Snapshot Kinship Inference software for the DoD’s Past Accounting Mission and, more generally, defense-related DNA forensics. Although Snapshot is best known for its DNA phenotyping capabilities (predicting appearance and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has the ability to accurately predict distant kinship relationships, currently out to six degrees of relatedness (e.g., second cousins once-removed).
Under the new contract, Snapshot will be recalibrated on a larger number of reference samples to further improve its accuracy and increase the kinship distances it can predict. Distant kinship inference is an indispensable capability for connecting families with unidentified loved ones who perished in long past conflicts because often the only remaining family members are too genetically distant for traditional DNA analysis to be used. By increasing the genetic distance at which relatedness can be inferred, Snapshot will enable identifications to be made that heretofore have not been possible.

New DNA odds spur review of old cases

DNA HelixTexas criminal justice organizations have begun reviewing thousands of cases that relied on an outdated method for calculating the odds that a particular person left DNA evidence at a crime scene.
At issue are samples that include more than one person’s DNA, such as evidence swabbed from a countertop after a convenience store heist or taken from bodily fluids in a rape kit. Experts revised national guidelines for calculating odds in these scenarios six years ago, but no one sounded an alarm or asked prosecutors to re-examine cases that used the previous methodology.

Suspect now linked to two crimes thanks to new DNA database

Forensic LabIRELAND- This is the first case since the DNA database was set up last November that a match has been made between a person and a crime. “It’s the first official hit recorded by the new database,” said Dr Sheila Willis, director general of FSI.

Bevin’s Budget to Address Kentucky’s Backlog of Untested Rape Kits

Backlog of sexual assault kitsIn his State of the Commonwealth Address Tuesday night, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced that he had allocated $4.5 million in state funding to address the state’s backlog of untested rape kits. The kits are used in sexual assault investigations in hopes of collecting potentially valuable forensic and DNA evidence.
A state audit released in late 2015 found Kentucky has more than 3000 untested rape kits. The audit also found that, typically, there is an eight month delay from when the kit is sent to the state crime lab to when the kit is processed.

Henry Lee, UNH and China university collaborate to advance forensics with robots

Henry LeeWEST HAVEN >> Henry C. Lee, world-renowned criminologist and namesake of the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, made the point himself Tuesday that he’s 78 now and can no longer run out to every single crime scene.
But a new joint U.S.-Chinese forensic technology research center that UNH and the Bejiing-based China University of Political Science and Law announced Tuesday aims to develop robots that can do what Lee does, among other things, Lee said.

Health Network Labs acquires two forensic labs, broadens DNA testing services

Blue and white helixHealth Network Laboratories, headquartered in Allentown, has acquired two State College-based forensic DNA laboratories that provide testing services for human identification, paternity and criminal investigation.
HNL now owns Fairfax Identity Laboratories and Mitotyping Technologies, which recently merged to also provide comprehensive DNA testing services for immigration, estate settlements, adoption and species lineage.

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Spectrum CE System is expected to be available later in 2016.
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New FBI biometric tech facility speeds analysis

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division began moving employees into its new Biometrics Technology Center in December just before Christmas, said Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology branch.
The agency officially opened the center in August at its CJIS site in Clarksburg, W.Va.

England’s unclaimed dead and the people trying to give them a name

UK UnclaimedWithout a name, they are referred to by the clothes they died in or some other distinguishing feature. The lady in the Afghan coat and a woman who may have been a sex worker known as The Duchess are just two of the hundreds of unidentified body cases reported to the National Crime Agency (NCA) each year. Half will be identified and returned to their loved ones. But what happens to the rest?

Kuwait set to enforce DNA testing law on all

DNA Helix1KUWAIT: The DNA testing law that will go into effect this year is aimed at creating an integrated security database and does not include genealogical implications or affects personal freedoms and privacy. Senior officials told Kuwait Times that the law, the first of its kind in the world, will only be used for criminal security purposes. When the law (no. 78/2015) is applied, it will be binding on all citizens, expatriates and visitors too. A Kuwaiti security delegation had earlier visited Washington to study DNA testing systems there.