Monthly Archives: August 2015

North metro crime lab zeroes in on quality-of-life offenses

Anne CieckoAfter burglars grab the cash, the electronics and the jewels, they often linger in the victim’s home for a beer or a bite to eat.
Scientists at the Tri County Regional Forensic Laboratory seize the opportunity to help catch them, using the latest technology to find traces of DNA on silverware, rims of bottles and cans, even half-eaten food.

Building a case

JusticeThe use of DNA in Forensic Science is widely acknowledged – but Forensic Science is a very broad field. Here we look more closely at how cases are built up within the Criminal Justice System following sexual offences

DNA Backlog Creating Issues for Criminal Investigations

GATTACA ImageEight months can seem like a long time.
It’s almost a full school year or close to full term for a pregnant mother. That’s how long it took to identify DNA in the French family murder case.

A look inside OSBI’s forensic lab

DNA MarkersThursday night OSBI opened its labs to a FOX 25 crew and other media to show how work gets done.

10 Years After Hurricane Katrina, 30 Victims Remain Unidentified

KatrinaTen years after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on Louisiana and Mississippi, 30 victims remain unidentified, WWL-TV reported on Wednesday. Autopsy reports obtained from the news station showed numerous locations across New Orleans where men and women were found with little to no personal belongings or distinguishing marks, making identification difficult, and funding allocated for DNA testing has dried up.

Kentucky State Police apply for $1.8 million grant for untested rape kits

DNA Helix 2FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky State Police are asking for nearly $2 million in grant money to help with a backlog of rape kits.
There are more than 860 untested rape kits at the state crime lab In Frankfort and KSP is hopeful that with more grant money, those could be processed.

Did children of Holocaust survivors really inherit trauma in genes?

helix9The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.
There are now several examples of modifications of an individual’s appearance and behavior by the environment, and of those modifications affecting the individual’s genes, usually by attaching methyl bases to specific nucleotides in the DNA sequence. This is a form of environmentally induced epigenetic modification.

The strange case of Ned Kelly’s head

Ned KellyNed Kelly was to lose his head three times, but it was the first time which was to have the greatest effect on him. Despite the exhaustive documentation of the bushranger’s short life, nobody knows where his skull is. That’s not for lack of searching, though, as Dr Craig Cormick writes.

Who is buried in potter’s field?

Potters FieldSAN BERNARDINO – In a tiny cemetery that serves as the final stop for hundreds of once-destitute people, college students are spending another summer trying to solve the mysteries of anonymous death in a hectic world.
The basic goal is simple – to connect names to bodies.

OSBI: Collecting DNA At Time Of Arrest Could Help Solve Crimes

helix9OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) is working with lawmakers to allow DNA samples to be taken upon the arrest of an alleged criminal. Currently, fingerprints and photos are taken of arrestees during booking. And only convicted felons are swabbed for DNA.

Study committee takes up issue of DNA sampling for arrestees

Arrestee formLawmakers on the Correction and Criminal Code Interim Study Committee discussed Rep. Pat Bauer’s, D-South Bend, proposal to collect DNA samples from those arrested for felony charges.
Currently, DNA is only kept in a database for those convicted of a felony.
Bauer, D-South Bend, authored House Bill 1551 for the 2015 session that included this idea. The bill did not advance but ended up as a study committee. The bill would have required every person arrested for a felony after June 30, 2015 to undergo a cheek swab to collect a DNA sample. The bill specified that the sample would be expunged if the person was acquitted of all felony charges, all felony charges were dismissed or no charges were filed after 30 days.
Bauer authored the bill after his wife met a woman named Jayann Sepich.

New partnership cutting number of untested sexual assault kits

sexual assault kitsHUNTINGTON, WV– A new partnership is helping to reduce the number of untested sexual assault kits housed in evidence storage rooms and provide leads for solving crimes.
The Marshall University Forensic Science Center is now screening and conducting DNA testing of all assault kits contained by the Huntington Police Department. The DNA profiles generated at the Forensic Science Center laboratory are then sent to the West Virginia State Police Forensic laboratory for further review.

U.S. Defense Forensic Science Center to Use New Genetics Technology to Aid Investigations

DNA in criminal investifationsCOLUMBUS, OH–(Marketwired – August 19, 2015) – Battelle’s revolutionary new software, ExactID®, will be engaged by investigators at the U.S. Defense Forensic Science Center under a new agreement.
ExactID is the first commercial forensic genomics software system that lets forensic investigators harvest the power of next-generation sequencing data in a format suited for routine laboratory analysis. ExactID provides the information needed to determine specific, identifying traits — such as hair and eye color, race, who a person may be related to, where they may live — from an unmatched DNA sample. This has not been possible before.

Funding for DNA testing key to cracking cold criminal cases

McGrathKim Murga, Metro’s forensic laboratory director, said untested rape kits go back to 1983, before DNA testing became more common about 15 years ago. Nevada is no different from most of the nation, which is struggling to confront rape kit backlogs and the high costs associated with catching up, she said.
Of the 6,300 kits yet to be tested in Southern Nevada, 5,600 are Metro cases, she said. A DNA test costs about $1,000 — plus the costs of manpower and necessary travel, Roberts said.

Representative Steve Eliason Presented With 2015 ‘Katie’s Hero’ Award

eliasonThe parents and sister of murder victim Katie Sepich were joined by author James Tillman in presenting Utah State Representative Steve Eliason with the “Katie’s Hero Award”.