Monthly Archives: December 2014

Indonesian Police Begin Search For DNA Evidence

AirAsia QZ8501…Based on the precedent set by previous airline disasters, including the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July, experts are likely set to begin a long process of identifying the remains. The victims were due to be identified at Surabaya’s Bhayangkara Hospital, though the condition of the bodies remained unclear, something which could possibly affect the identification process, the Independent said…

Van Hollen says state is ready for increased DNA screening of suspects

magnifying glassMADISON, Wis. (WSAU-Wheeler News) — Wisconsin’s departing attorney general says he is confidence crime labs are prepared to handle a dramatic increase in requests for D-N-A tests.

Russia Plans to Build DNA Databank of All Living Creatures. Modern-day Noah’s Ark?

NoahRussia is apparently looking to create a DNA databank of all living creatures. Could this be the modern-day Noah’s Ark?
Researchers from Moscow State University plan to build a database that will house the DNA of practically every creature known to man. The DNA databank will be created at the campus of the Moscow State University. The project is expected to be complete by 2018 and the first phase, which has been announced, will cost $19 million.

Shortage of lab techs hampering Austin burglary investigations

dna12The odds aren’t good that burglary victims in Austin will see their belongings again.
Austin police solve fewer than 10 percent of the city’s residential burglaries, a little less than the national average of 12.7 percent, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The low number of cases “cleared” — by indicting suspects or recovering stolen property — has persisted despite 20 years of declining crime rates. Police departments across the country face backlogs of unprocessed evidence because of personnel shortages. As evidence rooms fill up, the time needed to analyze fingerprints and DNA keeps growing.

DNA forensics helping crack more property crimes

DetersA potent crime-fighting tool once reserved for the most violent offenses, DNA testing is now helping solve more nonviolent crimes, including thefts, drug offenses and quality-of-life crimes such as vandalism and window-peeping.

Finding and unearthing Spain’s mass graves

Skeletal evidenceACROSS Spain, volunteer teams of archaeologists, anthropologists and forensic scientists head out every year on expeditions to dig for suspected mass graves — a legacy of Spain’s fascist past.

Ohio bill to require rape kit testing within 30 days passes

DeWineA bill that requires Ohio law enforcement agencies to send all their untested rape kits for testing within 30 days passed the House yesterday.

Raleigh police use advances in science to help crack cold cases

Helix4Raleigh, N.C. — When Edwin Lawing faced a Wake County judge Thursday, it was nearly 19 years after police say he killed his girlfriend, Lacoy McQueen.
It’s one of several cold cases Raleigh police have been able to make arrests on recently.

Untested rape kits pile up again

silver HelixPaul Noel can point to a crowning achievement of his first nine months shepherding investigations of sex crimes in New Orleans: the work of his team in 2010 and 2011 led to the testing and examination of more than 800 rape kits that had long sat on some forgotten shelf.

Sexual crimes may be solved using microbial ‘signature’ from pubic hairs

BacteriaBacterial communities living on an individual’s pubic hairs could be used as a microbial ‘signature’ to trace their involvement in sexual assault cases, according to a study published in the open access journal Investigative Genetics.
Hairs are one of the most common types of trace evidence collected during forensic investigations, but the majority of those recovered from crime scenes lack their roots and contain insufficient amounts of human genetic material to carry out DNA profiling of suspects.

Michigan Lawmakers Approve DNA Collection Bills

RNA AnalysisMichigan Lawmakers have approved a bill that allows police to collect DNA samples, from people arrested on suspicion of any felony charge.

Team has its first cold-case arrest

helix9Carla Salazar, a phone operator, lived alone in her Santa Ana apartment, where she was stabbed to death in June 1989.
After the killing, a man named Douglas Gutridge, 37 at the time, contacted detectives upon reading articles in the Register, claiming he wanted to help. Gutridge said he was the last person to see the 35-year-old transgender woman alive, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said.

Mandatory rape kit testing approved by Ohio House

Ohio StatehouseCOLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill intended to clear a decades-long backlog of untested rape kits unanimously passed the Ohio House on Wednesday and will head to Gov. John Kasich’s desk.

State Police crime lab meeting new, stricter standards

GATTACA ImageThe State Police crime lab is complying with stricter standards to maintain its accreditation with an international crime lab accrediting board, officials announced at a press conference on Monday. The West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory has been accredited with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board, which accredits most forensic laboratories in the United States, since 1994. The organization is now requiring crime labs it accredits to meet 400 standards, hundreds more than earlier requirements, to maintain accreditation with the program, according to Ralph Keaton, retired executive director of the board.

What role does DNA play in the FBI’s biometrics database?

helix 7This September, the FBI retired its Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and replaced it with NGI — the Next Generation Identification system.
NGI was deployed incrementally over a 10-year period. It’s designed to identify “bad guys” through fingerprints and other biometric data.
Stephen Morris, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division, explained how the system works and addressed privacy concerns with Government Matters.