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Forensic Magazine

Exhuming the Romanovs

September 30, 2015 1:43 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

New evidence in the 100-year-old murders of the Romanov clan might finally reunite the last Russian royal family, and allow the Orthodox Catholic church to grant proper burial to their children's remains in a cathedral in St. Petersburg.


Can You Determine Race From a Fingerprint?

September 29, 2015 2:19 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

For years, forensic scientists have studied differences between latent fingerprints and have used this information to identify unique patterns. Now, a new study takes a closer look at the minutiae of fingerprints and has come to an astounding conclusion: latent prints can provide clues to a person’s race.


Racial Hate Crimes Linked to Increased Internet Access in the Early 2000s

September 29, 2015 11:47 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

In a new study, researchers have tried to find out if the Internet might also push racially biased “hate content” and if there is a correlation between increased availability to the Internet and actual hate crimes perpetrated in the real world.


The Smell of Death Could Become Forensic Tool

September 28, 2015 2:31 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

The smell of the dead is unique to human experience – as homicide detectives know, nothing else can be mistaken for that particularly pungent stench. But scientists are still picking apart exactly what makes up that complex smell – and their progress could mean a whole new avenue of forensics to find bodies, determine time of death, and even identify people by a “smelly fingerprint.”


Ethics at the Crime Scene

September 25, 2015 1:54 pm | by Dick Warrington | Comments

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?


The Width of a Human Hair

September 25, 2015 1:50 pm | by Dixie Peters, Kelly Grisedale, Lisa Schade, Jonathan Tabak and James Anstead | Comments

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.


Identifying the Angel of Death: The forensic examination of Josef Mengele

September 25, 2015 1:43 pm | by Dolly Stolze | Comments

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


Defining a Face: What can DNA phenotyping really tell us about an unknown sample?

September 25, 2015 12:12 pm | by Jim Dawson | Comments

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.”


An Open Letter to India: It’s time to pass the Human DNA Profiling Bill

September 25, 2015 12:05 pm | by Chris Asplen | Comments

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.


DNA Designed for Human Rights

September 25, 2015 11:19 am | by Sara Katsanis | Comments

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.


Moving Toward a Better Life

September 25, 2015 11:04 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

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.


9,000-Year-Old Decapitation Discovered in Brazil

September 24, 2015 12:06 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

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 the Womb Becomes a Crime Scene

September 23, 2015 1:33 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

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.


Oregon Lab Analyst Allegedly Stole Prescription Pills from Evidence Locker

September 22, 2015 1:19 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

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' Identified

September 18, 2015 12:24 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

“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.



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