Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

London fire may have destroyed DNA needed to ID victims

The devastating fire that struck a high-rise tower in London may have been so powerful that it destroyed much of the DNA evidence needed to identify its victims.
As firefighters keep searching the charred ruins of the Grenfell Tower public housing complex with sniffer dogs and drones, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was “a risk that, sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody.”

After 27 Years, Judge Overturns Rape Conviction

A Dane County judge on Friday overturned the rape conviction of a man who has served 27 years in prison largely on the strength of a single hair after the FBI admitted its analyst’s conclusion tying Richard Beranek to that hair was flawed.DNA testing has confirmed that neither the hair nor semen found in the perpetrator’s underwear left at the scene of the sexual assault matched Beranek, according to Beranek’s motion for a new trial.

The shifting science of DNA in the courtroom

(CNN)This summer marks 30 years since one of the biggest advances in criminal investigations, DNA profiling, identified a killer.
Every cell within every living creature contains DNA material. That material carries instructions that dictate everything from how tall you’ll be to what diseases you may develop, and it’s unique to you. Forensic scientists can find it in biological material left on a crime scene or body, like hair, saliva or even skin tissue.

Pooler gifts land, approves plans for new GBI crime lab

Officials in Pooler this week turned over land and signed off on plans for a new regional crime laboratory for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.City Council members in the west Chatham city voted unanimously Monday to approve site plans for the new GBI campus — a combined 66,000-square-foot facility comprised of a three-story forensic crime lab and a one-story morgue.

Specialist international team to perform DNA analysis on Tuam Babies grave in west of Ireland

A SPECIALIST team will be brought in to perform DNA analysis on the remains found in the mass grave at the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam.
The bodies of 796 young children and babies were found in 2012 on the old grounds of the Bon Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.

UGA To Analyze DNA Of Human Remains Found On Campus

The University of Georgia says its scientists will analyze the DNA of human remains found in 2015 near a campus building.
Two years ago, workers renovating Baldwin Hall discovered more than 100 gravesites. Preliminary DNA tests showed most of the bodies were those of African descent.
UGA researchers now say they plan to go deeper.

APD Creates Team Dedicated to Clearing Rape Kit Backlog

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s interim police chief is adding more staff to the department’s sexual assault unit. Chief Brian Manley wants the DNA lab’s massive backlog to be a thing of the past.
At the backlog’s peak, Austin Police had more than 3,000 DNA kits waiting to be tested. They were from a variety of cases, but many stemmed from sexual assaults.

44 ‘hits’ found in DNA testing of old, backlogged Virginia rape evidence

DNA testing in 431 cases of collected but previously untested biological evidence recovered in Virginia rape cases has resulted in 44 DNA database “hits.”

Africa: Italian Murder Case Wins the 2017 DNA Database Hit of the Year Award

Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs (GTH-GA) has awarded the inaugural DNA Database Hit of the Year award to the Italian Carabinieri and Polizia di Stato for its dedicated work on the Yara Gambirasio murder case. The winning case was selected from 50 cases submitted by 15 countries, and was chosen by a panel of seven international judges with career backgrounds in forensic DNA. The award was announced during the annual Human Identification Solutions (HIDS) Conference held in Vienna, Austria.

State’s forensic scientists get modern lab after 40-year wait

In 1979 Ireland’s forensic science lab advertised for a new director. A candidate was found but quickly backed out, telling his employers he couldn’t run an effective forensic lab in a cramped converted office block at the back of Garda HQ.
Now nearly 40 years later the 100 scientists working for Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) are to finally move out of the dingy facilities which they have for years regarded as not fit to purpose. They will move into a new state of the art 9,550 sq m facility at Backweston on the grounds of the current State Laboratory.

Governor Snyder Signs Land Over To NMU For Forensic Anthropology lab

LANSING — Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill today, giving a lot of land to a local university to utilize for a one-of-a-kind project.
Senate Bill 119, sponsored by state Senator Tom Casperson, allows Northern Michigan University to use a 2.5 acre lot located next to the Marquette Branch Prison for the newest forensic anthropology program. The site will be used to conduct the first-time study of human decomposition in cold weather.

Body of 19th century serial killer Dr H.H. Holmes to be exhumed to quash rumours he escaped the noose

A Delaware County judge gave the go-ahead to exhume the remains of Dr. H. H. Holmes in a court order dated March 9. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which owns Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon where the body was located, confirmed the exhumation was to take place but it wasn’t immediately clear when the process started. WCAU-TV in Philadelphia showed footage for a front-end loader removing dirt from a grave at Holy Cross Cemetery on Friday.
Holmes was the subject of the 2003 best-selling book, The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson.

Funding cut for Wisconsin missing persons and cold cases

Investigators all over Wisconsin will now have to find a new lab, and the other options will cost them money, and cost them time trying to solve certain cases. “If it’s the FBI and it’s not a pressing matter might take years to complete,” Simley said.

Mariska Hargitay’s Doc ‘I Am Evidence’ Is An Eye-Opening Look At The Rape Kit Backlog

If you were to watch almost any episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” it’s likely that some form of sexual assault would take place, the victim would be given a rape kit at the hospital, and the dedicated detectives investigating would send the kit off to be tested for DNA evidence.
But what happens during the course of an hourlong procedural rarely aligns with reality, something “SVU” star Mariska Hargitay knows all too well. The actress, who has played Lieutenant Olivia Benson on the NBC series for 18 seasons, is a producer on “I Am Evidence,” an eye-opening new HBO documentary which premiered last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The doc highlights the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that sit in evidence rooms in police departments across the country.

Send Your DNA to Space and Back via New Service

The company that sells launch services for cremated remains is offering a new way for you to send a bit of yourself or your loved ones to space — with the added bonus that you don’t have to be dead to participate.
Houston-based Celestis on Friday (April 21) unveiled a new service that will put samples of DNA into space