Two Montana Sweethearts Were Fatally Shot in 1956. The Case Was Just Solved.

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office said it appeared to be the oldest homicide case in the United States to be solved with genetic genealogy.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #great-falls-mont, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides

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China Still Buys American DNA Equipment for Xinjiang Despite Blocks

The U.S. government has long tried to prevent the sales over concerns about rights abuses and surveillance. Documents show those efforts have failed.

#china, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #government-contracts-and-procurement, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #surveillance-of-citizens-by-government, #uighurs-chinese-ethnic-group, #xinjiang-china

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An Innocent Man Went to Prison for Murder. Now, It’s the Real Killer’s Turn.

Brian Leigh Dripps Sr. was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in the 1996 killing of Angie Dodge in Idaho, a crime for which Christopher Tapp was exonerated.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #idaho, #idaho-falls-idaho, #innocence-project, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #sex-crimes, #tapp-christopher

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She Was Stabbed and Left in a Cornfield in 1972. Now There’s an Arrest.

Barry Lee Whelpley, now 76, was charged with killing Julie Ann Hanson, who was 15 when her body was found in Naperville, Ill., the authorities said.

#chicago-ill, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #illinois, #minnesota, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #naperville-ill

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Two New Laws Restrict Police Use of DNA Search Method

Maryland and Montana have passed the nation’s first laws limiting forensic genealogy, the method that found the Golden State Killer.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #law-and-legislation, #maryland, #montana, #privacy, #your-feed-science

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Man Rescued in Colorado Mountain Pass Is Accused in 1982 Murders

Alan Lee Phillips was rescued from a snowdrift in 1982 after he signaled SOS with his headlights. The police now say he became trapped on the road after killing two women.

#breckenridge-colo, #colorado, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #oberholtzer-barbara-jo-d-1982, #phillips-alan-lee-1951, #schnee-annette-d-1982

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DNA Could Identify Somerton Man Exhumed in Australia

This week the police disinterred a body, found on a beach in 1948, that has puzzled investigators for decades. “There’s lots of twists and turns in this case, and every turn is pretty weird,” one said.

#adelaide-australia, #australia, #derek-abbott, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #rachel-egan, #somerton-man

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Cleared of Murder, Brothers Are Awarded $75 Million

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, half brothers with intellectual disabilities, spent three decades in prison for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl before DNA evidence implicated someone else.

#artis-roscoe, #brown-leon, #capital-punishment, #compensation-for-damages-law, #confessions, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #intellectual-disabilities, #mccollum-henry-lee, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #north-carolina, #north-carolina-innocence-inquiry-commission, #robeson-county-nc, #sex-crimes, #suits-and-litigation-civil

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Remains Found 36 Years Ago in Montana Are Identified

DNA analysis has identified the remains of a woman, who for decades was known only as Christy Crystal Creek, as those of Janet Lee Lucas, who was last seen in Spokane, Wash., in 1983.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #lucas-janet-lee, #missing-persons, #missoula-county-mont, #montana, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #serial-murders, #spokane-wash, #teeth-and-dentistry

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After Ledell Lee’s Execution, Another Man’s DNA Is Found on the Murder Weapon

Lawyers’ request to conduct additional DNA testing before Ledell Lee was executed had been denied.

#american-civil-liberties-union, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #innocence-project, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides

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To Solve 3 Cold Cases, This Small County Got a DNA Crash Course

Forensic genealogy helped nab the Golden State Killer in 2018. Now investigators across the country are using it to revisit hundreds of unsolved crimes.

#deangelo-joseph-james, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #privacy, #your-feed-science

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Decades After Police Bombing, Philadelphians ‘Sickened’ by Handling of Victim’s Bones

The disclosure that anthropologists at two Ivy League universities had kept bones from a victim of the 1985 MOVE bombing infuriated its members as well as city leaders.

#black-people, #bones, #forensic-science, #fringe-groups-and-movements, #move, #philadelphia-pa, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #princeton-university, #university-of-pennsylvania, #university-of-pennsylvania-museum-of-archaeology-and-anthropology

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With George Floyd, a Raging Debate Over Bias in the Science of Death

Critics say the profession of forensic pathology has been slow to acknowledge how big a role bias may play in decisions such as whether to classify a death in police custody as a homicide.

#chauvin-derek-1976, #forensic-science, #race-and-ethnicity

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In the George Floyd Case, Why Is Cause of Death so Difficult to Determine?

The prosecution in Derek Chauvin’s trial is trying to establish that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen. Here, experts break down the key medical terminology surrounding his autopsies.

#autopsies, #chauvin-derek-1976, #floyd-george-d-2020, #forensic-science, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

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New Autopsy Report Reveals Black Man’s 2004 Death Was Homicide

The cold case of Alonzo Brooks, 23, was featured in an episode of the Netflix reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries.”

#brooks-alonzo, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #forensic-science, #kansas, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #netflix-inc

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Queens Man Is Charged in 1976 Killing of Pregnant Teenager

Luis Sierra, 63, of Ozone Park, was arrested this week in the killing of Evelyn Colon, a Jersey City 15-year-old whose dismembered remains were found along a riverbank in Pennsylvania, the authorities said.

#assaults, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #extradition, #forensic-science, #jersey-city-nj, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #new-jersey, #ozone-park-queens-ny, #pennsylvania, #queens-nyc, #sex-crimes

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The Death Cleaner

For a forensic cleaner in Mexico City, helping grieving families heal is at the core of his service.

#death-and-dying, #families-and-family-life, #forensic-science, #mexico

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She Vanished Decades Ago. Her Children Just Learned She Had Been Killed.

William Heiser Jr. said his father had told him and his sister that their mother, Marie Heiser, had “just packed up her stuff and left.”

#delaware, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #heiser-marie-petry, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #parabon-nanolabs-inc, #philadelphia-pa

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After Nearly Four Decades, a Tip Helps Solve the Killing of a School Cook

Virginia Hannon, 59, was found stabbed and strangled in her home in 1984. The authorities said a tipster last year helped them identify her killer.

#aylward-jesse, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #hannon-virginia-d-1984, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #pembroke-mass

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Coyote That Attacked Five in Bay Area is Finally Caught

The animal, which had bitten five people, including two young children, near San Francisco over nearly eight months, was euthanized on Thursday.

#california, #coyotes, #department-of-fish-and-wildlife-california, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #east-bay-san-francisco-calif, #forensic-science

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Oregon Man Is Charged With Two Murders Committed Two Decades Apart

Genetic genealogy connected Christopher Lovrien to a 1999 homicide victim, according to the authorities, who said they found the remains of a 2020 homicide victim when they searched his property.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #dribin-mark, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #griffin-kenneth, #lovrien-christopher, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #oregon, #police-department-portland-ore, #portland-ore, #search-and-seizure, #serial-murders

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DNA Points to Single Coyote in Series of Attacks in California

Since July, four attacks on Bay Area residents have involved the same coyote, according to DNA taken from the victims’ bite wounds and clothing.

#animals, #california, #coyotes, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #east-bay-san-francisco-calif, #forensic-science

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Is Kevin Cooper an Innocent Man?

We’ve seen the DNA evidence in the Kevin Cooper case. It points elsewhere.

#black-people, #california, #chino-hills-calif, #cooper-kevin, #criminal-justice, #discrimination, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-department-san-francisco-calif, #race-and-ethnicity, #san-bernardino-county-calif, #united-states-politics-and-government, #witnesses

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Man Who Sat on Death Row Is Cleared After Bite-Mark Evidence Is Doubted

Eddie Lee Howard of Mississippi spent more than two decades in prison, but the evidence used to convict him in a 1992 killing is no longer considered reliable.

#false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #howard-eddie-lee-jr, #mississippi, #west-michael-h-1952

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No One Should Go to Prison for a Crime They Didn’t Commit

Deceptive interrogations and false confessions are all too common. New York can stop them.

#central-park-jogger-case-1989, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #innocence-project, #interrogations, #meili-trisha, #myrie-zellnor, #public-defenders-and-court-appointed-lawyers-criminal, #state-legislatures

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Scientists ID potential biomarkers to peg time of death for submerged corpses

<em>Ophelia</em> (1852) by John Everett Millais, inspired by the character in Shakespeare's <em>Hamlet</em>, who goes mad and drowns in a brook. It can be challenging for forensic scientists to determine how long a dead body has been submerged in water.

Enlarge / Ophelia (1852) by John Everett Millais, inspired by the character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who goes mad and drowns in a brook. It can be challenging for forensic scientists to determine how long a dead body has been submerged in water.

There’s rarely time to write about every cool science-y story that comes our way. So this year, we’re once again running a special Twelve Days of Christmas series of posts, highlighting one science story that fell through the cracks in 2020, each day from December 25 through January 5. Today: identifying potential biomarkers (in mice) for pegging time of death in waterlogged corpses.

Correctly estimating time of death looks so easy in fictional police procedurals, but it’s one of the more challenging aspects of a forensic pathologist’s job. This is particularly true for corpses found in water, where a multitude of additional variables make it even more difficult to determine how long a body has been submerged. A team of scientists at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, have hit upon a new method for making that determination, involving the measurement of levels of certain proteins in bones. They described their findings in an April paper in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Co-author Noemi Procopio has been interested in forensic science since she was 14, but initially studied biotechnology because her home country of Italy didn’t have forensic science programs. When she moved to the University of Manchester in the UK to complete her PhD, she chose to specialize in the application of proteomics  (the large-scale study of proteins) to the field, thanks to the influence of a former supervisor, an archaeologist who applied proteomics to bones.

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#biology, #biomarkers, #bone, #forensic-science, #forensics, #proteomics, #science

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The Man I Saw Them Kill

The Trump administration has resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus. I witnessed the latest one.

#capital-punishment, #children-and-childhood, #crime-and-criminals, #criminal-justice, #federal-bureau-of-prisons, #forensic-science, #intellectual-disabilities, #justice-department, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #prisons-and-prisoners, #sex-crimes, #torture

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Casey Goodson Died From Multiple Gunshot Wounds, Coroner Says

Mr. Goodson, of Columbus, Ohio, was shot several times in the torso, the coroner said. He was shot by a member of a fugitive task force who the authorities said was searching for someone else.

#columbus-ohio, #forensic-science, #goodson-casey-christopher-jr, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

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Exhume the Body of Warren G. Harding? A Judge Says That Won’t Be Necessary

A grandson, whose grandmother Nan Britton had an affair with the 29th president, was attempting to confirm his presidential lineage.

#adultery, #ancestry-com, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #harding-warren-g, #marion-county-ohio, #suits-and-litigation-civil

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108 Convictions Tied to Massachusetts Chemist’s Misconduct May Be Vacated

The Suffolk County district attorney said she was seeking to remove the “huge stain on the legal system” left by Annie Dookhan, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to tampering with evidence.

#boston-mass, #decisions-and-verdicts, #dookhan-annie, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #forensic-science, #massachusetts, #suits-and-litigation-civil

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Suspect in 1972 Murder Dies in Apparent Suicide Hours Before Conviction

Detectives used genetic genealogy to connect Terrence Williams to the killing of Jody Loomis outside Seattle. He was charged last year.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #sex-crimes, #snohomish-county-wash

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After 50 Years, a Suspect Emerges in Mary Scott Cold Murder Case

With the help of DNA technology, John Jeffrey Sipos, 75, was arrested in Pennsylvania last weekend in the 1969 murder of Mary Scott, a 23-year-old California woman.

#california, #deangelo-joseph-james, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-department-san-diego-calif, #scott-mary, #sipos-john

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The Gilgo Beach Murders Were a Cold Case. Then a New Police Chief Arrived.

After a decade of little movement in a series of killings on Long Island, a new sense of urgency.

#federal-bureau-of-investigation, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #gilgo-beach-ny, #ill-be-gone-in-the-dark-one-womans-obsessive-search-for-the-golden-state-killer-book, #long-island-ny, #lost-girls-movie, #lost-girls-an-unsolved-american-mystery-book, #mcnamara-michelle-1970-2016, #police-department-suffolk-county-ny, #serial-murders, #sex-crimes

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36 Years Later, Police Arrest Suspect in Rape and Killing of a 14-Year-Old

Using DNA evidence, the authorities in Rochester, N.Y., said that they had charged Timothy L. Williams of Melbourne, Fla., with murdering Wendy Jerome on Thanksgiving Day in 1984.

#children-and-childhood, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #jerome-wendy, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-department-rochester-ny, #rochester-ny, #sex-crimes, #williams-timothy-l

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Could a tree help find a decaying corpse nearby?

Multicolored autumnal mountainside.

Enlarge / If a decaying cadaver releases a flood of nitrogen into the soil, it could change the look of nearby trees. At least, that’s the theory. (credit: Getty Images)

Since 1980, the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center has plumbed the depths of the most macabre of sciences: the decomposition of human bodies. Known colloquially as the Body Farm, here scientists examine how donated cadavers decay, like how the microbiomes inside us go haywire after death. That microbial activity leads to bloat, and—eventually—a body will puncture. Out flows a rank fluid of nutrients, especially nitrogen, for plants on the Body Farm to subsume.

That gave a group of University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers an idea: what if that blast of nutrients actually changes the color and reflectance of a tree’s leaves? And, if so, what if law enforcement authorities could use a drone to scan a forest, looking for these changes to find deceased missing people? Today in the journal Trends in Plant Science, researchers are formally floating the idea—which, to be clear, is still theoretical. The researchers are just beginning to study how a plant’s phenotype—its physical characteristics—might change if a human body is composing nearby. “What we’re proposing is to use plants as indicators of human decomposition, to hopefully be able to use individual trees within the forest to help pinpoint where someone has died, to help in body recovery,” says UT Knoxville plant biologist Neal Stewart, coauthor on the new paper.

As a large mammal like a human decomposes in a forest, its breakdown transforms the soil in a number of ways. The body’s “necrobiome”—all the bacteria that was already in it when it was alive—replicates like crazy in the absence of an immune system. This necrobiome mixes with the microbes in the dirt. “The soil microbiome will change and, of course, the plant roots will also sense some changes,” says Stewart. But, he adds, “we don’t really know what those changes are.”

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#bodies, #forensic-science, #science

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Prosecutors Get Ballistics Report in Breonna Taylor Shooting

The Kentucky attorney general called the report a “critical piece” of the case, but he did not say what light it sheds on the fatal police shooting of a 26-year-old Black woman in her home.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #cameron-daniel-j-1985, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #forensic-science, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #louisville-ky, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #search-and-seizure, #taylor-breonna-1993-2020

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DNA Evidence Exonerates Man in 1983 Rape and Killing, Prosecutors Say

Prosecutors in Hillsborough County, Fla., said Robert DuBoise, 55, had been wrongfully convicted. On Wednesday, they moved to free him after he spent 37 years behind bars.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #duboise-robert, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forensic-science, #hillsborough-county-fla, #innocence-project, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #sex-crimes

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Golden State Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole

Prosecutors said that Joseph James DeAngelo committed 13 murders and nearly 50 rapes that terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s.

#california, #deangelo-joseph-james, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #sentences-criminal, #serial-murders, #sex-crimes

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Why a Data Breach at a Genealogy Site Has Privacy Experts Worried

Nearly two-thirds of GEDmatch’s users opt out of helping law enforcement. For a brief window this month, that didn’t matter.

#computer-security, #computers-and-the-internet, #cyberattacks-and-hackers, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #gedmatch, #gedmatch-inc, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides

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China Is Harvesting DNA From Millions of People. Is This the Future of Policing?

The Chinese police are systematically collecting genomic data from tens of millions of people.

#australia, #biometrics, #california, #chengdu-china, #china, #commerce-department, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #europe, #forensic-science, #fujian-province-china, #gedmatch-inc, #government-contracts-and-procurement, #guizhou-china, #hunan-province-china, #india, #inner-mongolia, #kenya, #kuwait, #malaysia, #minorities, #muslims-and-islam, #police, #police-department-nyc, #politics-and-government, #privacy, #surveillance-of-citizens-by-government, #thailand, #thermo-fisher-scientific-inc, #tibet, #united-states, #xinjiang-china

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A Half-Century Later, Police Identify a Homicide Suspect and His Victim

Using DNA evidence, the district attorney’s office in Orange County, Calif., said it had identified a 1968 homicide victim as Anita Louise Piteau and the suspect as Johnny Chrisco.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #huntington-beach-calif, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #orange-county-calif, #spitzer-todd-1960

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The Massacre That Destroyed Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’

In 1921, the city of Tulsa erupted in a spasm of hate and fire that destroyed its prosperous Black district. A century later, excavators are uncovering a “crime scene.”

#black-people, #cemeteries, #forensic-science, #oklahoma, #race-and-ethnicity, #tulsa-okla

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Golden State Killer Cases: Joseph DeAngelo Pleads Guilty

In a converted ballroom in Sacramento, in front of victims and their families, the former police officer began admitting guilt to a multitude of crimes on Monday.

#california, #deangelo-joseph-james, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #sacramento-calif, #sex-crimes

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A DNA Mix-Up Involving a Washing Machine Kept a Man in Jail for 3 Years

The Louisiana case highlights how prosecutors and crime labs withhold key documents from defense lawyers, keeping some defendants in custody for months or years.

#criminal-justice, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #louisiana, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #singer-stephen-attorney, #verret-roy, #washing-machines-and-dryers

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China Is Collecting DNA From Tens of Millions of Men and Boys, Using U.S. Gear

Even children are pressed into giving blood samples to build a sweeping genetic database that will add to Beijing’s growing surveillance capabilities, raising questions about abuse and privacy.

#china, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #genetics-and-heredity, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #ministry-of-public-security-of-the-peoples-republic-of-china, #privacy, #surveillance-of-citizens-by-government, #tests-medical, #thermo-fisher-scientific-inc

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When Cadaver Dogs Pick Up a Scent, Archaeologists Find Where to Dig

Recent research highlights the power of the canine nose to uncover buried remains from ancient human history.

#animal-cognition, #archaeology-and-anthropology, #arts-and-antiquities-looting, #croatia, #dogs, #florida, #forensic-science, #mississippi, #native-americans, #smells-and-odors, #tombs-and-tombstones, #your-feed-science

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Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues: Inside America’s Autopsy Crisis

Medical examiners provide crucial insights into public health and safety. What happens when we don’t have enough of them?

#autopsies, #cleveland-ohio, #forensic-science, #medicine-and-health, #opioids-and-opiates

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