K&R News


2017-05-19 | University of Indianapolis Forensics Crew Returns to Texas for Migrant Identification Initiative
For the past four years, a forensics team from the University of Indianapolis has traveled to Texas to exhume and conduct forensic analyses on the remains of migrants who died making the treacherous journey into the United States. The group not only carefully digs and recovers the remains from unmarked gravesites, but it also works with Texas State University on identification of the bodies. The initiative highlights a humanitarian crisis as bodies continue to be found in small counties with no resources to identify them, said Krista Latham, an associate professor of biology who leads the group.

2017-05-19 | UNT DNA Program Funding Loss ‘Incredibly Crippling,’ Say Investigators
In previous years, Krebs would send the samples to the national clearinghouse at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, which accepts out-of-state samples to help identify the nameless dead. But this year she can’t. A crucial $1 million in funding from the federal National Institute of Justice was removed earlier this year, and state and local agencies can no longer get the free testing they have come to expect. So detectives like Krebs across the nation are forced to make a decision: either don’t do the testing—or store the crucial evidence until they may be able to continue their investigations. “What else do you do?” said Krebs recently, talking about the box of DNA samples from unknown decedents on her desk.

2017-02-13 | Cyprus Tests to See if Remains of Missing Were Misidentified
A committee uncovering the fate of hundreds of missing Greek and Turkish Cypriots said Saturday it's examining whether past DNA tests on unearthed remains were incorrect, resulting in individuals being misidentified.

2017-02-09 | Colorado Supreme Court decisions could make it tougher for cops to testify
The court ruled that trial witnesses, including police officers, who have interpreted blood evidence in thousands of criminal cases can’t testify as “lay” witnesses and must first be qualified as experts before they can testify. That’s a much higher standard than officers currently face.

2017-01-23 | Mexico Identifies 56 Sets of Human Remains in Mass Grave
On Sunday, the prosecutors' office said 24 sets of remains were identified through DNA testing. Some of the 24 remains whose DNA matched existing profiles belonged to people who had been reported missing since 2010. The DNA profiles of 32 other people were found in the bones, but they couldn't immediately be matched to anyone.

2017-01-03 | UIndy team heads off on forensic mission to identify migrant bodies found in Texas
Her destination: a town near the Texas border. "This is essentially a humanitarian crisis. We consider it a mass disaster situation,” says Latham. She is a forensic anthropologist from the University of Indianapolis. She will be part of the painstaking project in exhuming the remains of more than one-hundred migrants that were fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador over the last ten years.

2016-08-26 | CBP Reports 850 Unidentified Illegal Alien Bodies in One Morgue
The bodies of as many as 850 illegal alien men, women and children who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully now lie frozen and unidentified in a morgue in Tucson, Ariz., according to an Arizona medical examiner. CBP explained in a press release published this week:

2016-08-19 | Forensic Experts Struggle to Identify Drowned Migrants
Teams of forensic scientists in Italy and Greece are painstakingly trying to identify the victims of drowning found at sea, washed up on shores or recovered from wrecks. However, there is no common practice to collect information about these deaths between states or even sometimes within the same country, and a plan by the Dutch-based International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to start tracing lost migrants is still awaiting funding.

2016-08-08 | Naming the Dead: Next-Generation DNA Sequencing at an Ohio Crime Lab
Ninety of Ohio's unnamed dead, found over decades, remain in storage in state crime labs. Their stories, other than their endings, are mysteries. The DNA in the remains is so degraded, it cannot be tested against databases which may give the deceased their identities back. But a new public-private partnership has brought “next-generation” DNA sequencing to one of the state’s laboratories, and one of the main goals will be to work on those unidentified bodies – with an eye toward tracking down the 1,200 people missing at any given time in the state, authorities announced last month.

2016-08-05 | Analyzing Unknown Human Remains: Cold Missing Persons Case
The adoption of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology in the forensic industry is in its infancy, but its ability to garner more actionable information, particularly in compromised samples, is undeniable. Better described as massively parallel sequencing (MPS), the technology was introduced in the 21st century and has fundamentally revolutionized how biological systems could be studied with unprecedented throughput, scalability and speed. Important discoveries already have been made in many fields, in which, it is applied. For the forensics community in particular, MPS offers a highly complementary tool to Capillary Electrophoresis (CE) that is helping scientists in the field delve deeper into genetic information and find answers to very challenging questions.

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