By definition, “ethics” refers to “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.” But what does ethics mean for a Crime Scene Officer? In particular, what do we expect from a CSO at the crime scene?
In a typical crime laboratory operating today, what are the chances of obtaining an informative nuclear DNA profile from a rootless hair shaft? Or from extremely degraded skeletal human remains? The answer, as many forensic DNA analysts will attest, is somewhat discouraging—it is not likely at all.
When the gravediggers reached the wooden coffin, they were ordered to smash it open with their metal tools and pulled out the bones. That’s when the assistant director of the police department’s forensics lab jumped inside the excavated grave and held up the skull they believed belonged to Mengele
Within every person, somewhere among the approximately three billion DNA base pairs, hidden in the alleles and single nucleotide polymorphisms, is the information that defines much of an individual’s physical appearance. This DNA-determined appearance, or phenotype, is what creates family resemblance and, in the words of geneticist Richard Spritz, is “what your grandmother is responding to when she says you look like your father.”
For over twelve years now, officials in India have been discussing and debating, researching and studying the different dynamics of a forensic DNA database. While I wish that the Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 had had a name more fitting of its crime fighting nature, it needs to be passed nonetheless.
Exploitation of vulnerable people around the world is a continuing reality, and unlikely to be resolved with any single effort. But measures can be taken to provide resources and assistance to address these human rights abuses. In the world of forensic sciences, this can include identification of displaced or deceased persons, and the reunification of children with their biological relatives.
In the upcoming issue, experts weigh in on DNA and humanitarian crises that are unfolding around the world. Duke University professor Sara Katsanis says there’s a “humanitarian crisis” happening on the US border, where 137 children turn themselves in to immigration authorities every day, according to her findings. Every three days, there is another body found.
The discovery of one of the oldest decapitations ever found in the New World has some researchers reevaluating what's commonly accepted about prehistoric burials.
When methamphetamine bowled into Alabama, the state wrote some of the strictest child chemical endangerment laws on the books—laws that some argue are falling behind the medical research, and quickly becoming fossils from the “crack-baby” era of the 1980s.
An Oregon crime lab technician is accused of stealing prescription pills and other drugs, and replacing them with over-the-counter medication, or “dummy pills,” in an investigation confirmed by Oregon State Police over the weekend.
“Baby Doe,” the name given to the unidentified toddler who was found dead on a beach in Boston Harbor last June, finally has a name.
A forensic analyst at an Oregon State Police laboratory has been placed on leave after she was accused of tampering with evidence, according to local media reports. Hundreds of cases featuring drug evidence handled by the analyst could now be called into doubt.
A team of New Zealand researchers shot pigs in the head to help forensic science understand the mechanics of entrance wounds in suicides and homicides. But some question the science of the method, due to the different biology of the animals, and whether it translates to human death investigations.
In the first part of this paper we talked about the most common - and also some of the simplest - ways suspects can try to cover their tracks in an attempt to slow down an investigation. Now, we adress the more advanced techniques that can, at times, be very challenging to deal with. We look at some of the possible workarounds for deleted or encrypted data.
A winter storm toppled a huge beech tree in rural western Ireland. The uprooted base of the 215-year-old tree brought up something even more ancient: the remains of a 1,000-year-old homicide.