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Tiny Crime Scene Camera Sees Details and the Big Picture

September 25, 2013 3:17 pm | by The Optical Society | Comments

To capture the details of a crime scene, you might take many photos at close range. To get the whole scene at once, you could use a wide-angle or fisheye lens; but without an especially large lens you would be sacrificing the fine resolution that would help you catch that partial footprint you might otherwise have missed. Now a new type of miniature camera system promises to give users a big picture view without sacrificing high-resolution.

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Terrorists Claim 137 Killed in Kenya Mall Attack

September 25, 2013 10:05 am | by David Rising and Rodney Muhumuza, Associated Press | Comments

The terrorist group behind the takeover of a Nairobi mall claimed Wednesday that the Kenyan government assault team carried out "a demolition" of the building, burying 137 hostages in rubble. A government spokesman denied the claim and said Kenyan forces were clearing all rooms, firing as they moved and encountering no one.

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Purdue Software Toolkit Provides Visual Analytics to Aid Law Enforcement

September 25, 2013 9:49 am | by Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue University researchers have developed a new tool for law enforcement officers and disaster assistance first-responders to reduce crime and assist people. The tool is called the Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit, or VALET. Developed at Purdue's Homeland Security Center of Excellence, the toolkit software provides real-time data so officers can analyze high-volume criminal, traffic and civil incident data.

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Sorenson Forensics Provides Advanced Forensic Services for 'Cold Justice'

September 25, 2013 8:50 am | by Sorenson Forensics | Comments

Sorenson Forensics has announced that the company has been selected as the primary provider of DNA testing on Magical Elves' and Wolf Reality's new real-life crime series Cold Justice, in which former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former crime-scene investigator Yolanda McClary assist local law enforcement across the country in reexamining unsolved cases, some more than 20 years old.

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M-Vac System DNA Collection Device Helps Solve 18yr Old Cold Case

September 25, 2013 8:41 am | by M-Vac Systems, Inc. | Comments

M-Vac Systems, a leader in DNA collection technology, announced that its sampling device was instrumental in helping solve the 1995 murder of Krystal Lynn Beslanowitch.  Utilizing the M-Vac’s unique wet-vacuum approach, investigators collected enough touch DNA from a rock to generate a full profile and move the case forward.

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Microbial Clock Could Determine Time of Death

September 24, 2013 4:18 pm | by Univ. of Colorado Boulder | Comments

An intriguing study led by the University of Colorado Boulder may provide a powerful new tool in the quiver of forensic scientists attempting to determine the time of death in cases involving human corpses: a microbial clock. The clock is essentially the lock-step succession of bacterial changes that occur postmortem as bodies move through the decay process.

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Gun Retailers Strongly Support Expanded Criteria for Denying Gun Purchases

September 24, 2013 3:52 pm | by UC Davis Health System | Comments

A scientific survey of gun dealers and pawnbrokers in 43 U.S. states has found nearly unanimous support for denying gun purchases based on prior convictions and for serious mental illness with a history of violence or alcohol or drug abuse — conditions that might have prevented Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis from legally purchasing a firearm.

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Condo Complex Uses DNA to Track Pooper-scooper Scofflaws

September 24, 2013 9:40 am | by Kathleen Lynn, The Record | Comments

A Riverdale, N.J., condo complex plans to use DNA testing on dogs to figure out which of its residents aren’t cleaning up after their pets — apparently the first in North Jersey to do so. In a recent letter to residents, the management of the Grande at Riverdale said dogs’ mouths will be swabbed for DNA. 

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Student Honored for Blood-spatter Research

September 24, 2013 9:23 am | by My Kawartha | Comments

As part of her research on blood stain patterns, Trent University Ph.D. student Theresa Stotesbury used a custom-built, impact-simulation machine and an OPP high-speed camera to see what happens when a weapon draws blood. The work earned her the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $150,000 over three years.

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Could Detectives Use Microbes to Solve Murders?

September 24, 2013 8:45 am | by Rob Stein, NPR | Comments

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals. It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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Witness for the Prosecution

September 23, 2013 3:43 pm | by Russ Buettner, The New York Times | Comments

As an expert witness, William Barr is among a select group of mental health professionals in New York City who regularly play a central role in criminal proceedings, and he has become something of the go-to man for prosecutors when the mental health of a defendant is at issue.

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Migrants' DNA Could Help ID Missing Guatemalans

September 23, 2013 3:07 pm | by Amy Taxin, Associated Press | Comments

Aracely Garrido returned to her native Guatemala last month to bury one of 13 family members who disappeared during the country's decades-long civil war and was identified years later through DNA from surviving relatives. The 55-year-old tax preparer is among a small group of Guatemalan immigrants who have given DNA samples in hopes of finding loved ones who vanished during the fighting from 1960 to 1996. 

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Investigators See Promise in Iowa's New DNA Law

September 23, 2013 2:49 pm | by Joel Aschbrenner, Des Moines Register | Comments

Law enforcement officials say they hope to solve more crimes, from decades-old cold cases to commonplace burglaries, under a new law that will force those convicted of most aggravated misdemeanors to submit DNA samples. Currently, Iowa collects DNA from people convicted of felonies and sex crimes.

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Sam Houston State to Research Quicker Identification of Mass Disaster Victims

September 23, 2013 10:18 am | by Joni Mitchell, Bio News Texas | Comments

Sam Houston State University‘s Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility has received a National Institute of Justice grant to further research in genotyping in conditions related to natural and manmade disasters. To speed up the identification process, researchers at the STASFS will test a variety of solutions that are designed to be used in the field to collect and preserve tissue samples.

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Touch DNA on Clothing

September 23, 2013 9:59 am | by MSI M-Vac Systems, Inc. | Comments

The M-Vac System was able to collect enough forensic DNA material from a homicide/possible sexual assault victim's clothing to produce a viable profile despite the victim being submerged for 8-10 hrs. Swabbing of the same area had yielded no results. 

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