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DNA Analysis Finds Bubonic Plague in 5,000-Year-Old Bones

October 23, 2015 1:15 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

The medieval killer, the bubonic plauge, has been with humanity long before the Dark Ages set in. Ancient DNA was extracted from the bones of 101 adults, spanning from Siberia to Poland dating back to almost 6,000 years ago, 

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Cautionary Tales from Digital Forensics

October 22, 2015 4:54 pm | by Benjamin Wright | Comments

​Just in time for Halloween, Benjamin Wright, a lawyer and senior instructor with the SANS Institute, has pulled together some of the creepiest cases he has collected over the past decade.

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Crime Scene Documentation: Start to Finish

October 22, 2015 4:49 pm | by Dick Warrington | Comments

A complete and accurate record of the scene is essential for investigating the crime and for presenting the case when it goes to court. This documentation provides a record of the evidence found at the scene and the observations of the scene itself at the time it was discovered.

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The Black Widow and the Arsenic Mirror

October 22, 2015 4:45 pm | by Dolly Stolze | Comments

Until the 19th century it was relatively easy to get away with murder. Arsenic was the perfect weapon because it’s practically tasteless and odorless, symptoms are often mistaken for natural diseases, and best of all there were no tests to detect it.

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Five Case Studies in Forensic Toxicology

October 22, 2015 4:41 pm | by Judy Melinek | Comments

Interpreting the laboratory findings, deciding whether to pursue additional testing, and coming to a reasonable conclusion in these cases can be difficult.

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A Singular Step: New backlog reduction funding comes with familiar problems

October 22, 2015 4:35 pm | by Chris Asplen | Comments

The announcement of a combined $79 million in funding being allocated to address the backlog of untested rape kits was great news. But only a single step in the right direction. 

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Which Standards Are Standard? Differences between ISO/IEC 17025 and 17020 for forensic agencies

October 22, 2015 4:23 pm | by Pat Bencivenga | Comments

Becoming an accredited agency assures customers that the forensic agency complies with international standards and internationally recognized good practices, and that its staff is technically competent to perform specific types of testing and inspections.

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The Shelf Life on Justice: Testing old rape kits before the statute of limitations runs out

October 22, 2015 3:01 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Amy Robert's rapist remains unnamed and potentially still at large. The next clue to bring him to justice could be on a shelf of any police department or county prosecutor’s office across the nation.

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Cocaine Currency: Analysis and Quantitation of World Currency Using GC-MS/MS

October 22, 2015 2:47 pm | by Shilpi Chopra and Laura Chambers | Comments

This paper describes a method for extraction, identification, and quantitation of cocaine on paper money from nine different geographical areas around the globe, including five samples from the United States, using a triple quadrupole gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and the Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) monitoring mode 

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After Losing 110 lbs., N.J. Inmate Goes on Hunger Strike Again, Sues Prison

October 22, 2015 10:22 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Already in poor health from the first hunger strike – in which he lost half his weight – Lecuyer said he will not eat until those who punished him are punished themselves.

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Facial Recognition Remains a Human Penchant, For Now

October 21, 2015 12:53 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Computer algorithms have given forensic professionals unprecedented new avenues to investigate criminal cases especially with advanced DNA analysis techniques in the past half-decade. But, there is still no substitute for trained human analysts when it comes to facial recognition.

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Forensic Toxicology: Then and Now

October 20, 2015 2:20 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Forensic toxicology has always been the domain of the medical examiner. As far back as the early 18th century, primitive toxicology practices were already being utilized in criminal courts, and were quickly becoming an important crime-solving weapon in some of history’s most infamous cases.

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Glowing Fingerprints by a Burgled Scientist

October 20, 2015 1:46 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

After being burglarized, Kang Liang put his mind to the problem of finding prints, and found a solution which can make invisible fingerprints glow on surfaces within 30 seconds of application, as he details in a study published in today’s issue of Advanced Materials.

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DNA by the Numbers

October 20, 2015 1:18 pm | by Anna A. Mapes | Comments

Nowadays increasing numbers of evidentiary traces are collected at crime scenes and submitted for DNA analysis at the forensic laboratories. However, almost 50% of the analyzed DNA samples do not result in valuable DNA typing information. 

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Recreational Research: Analyzing ‘designer drugs’ at Miami’s premier electronic music festival

October 20, 2015 1:10 pm | by Jim Dawson, NIJ | Comments

Utilizing a grant from the National Institute of Justice, researchers have been able to identify the parent drug in blood samples and correlate that drug with metabolites that are produced as the drug is being broken down inside the body. This vital information can help police identify impaired drivers during traffic stops, and provide first responders with life-saving information during overdoses. 

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