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2015-12-18 | Union, W Cape health dept in fight over dead bodies
The union has accused the Western Cape health department of forcing unqualified staff members to perform autopsies. In an ongoing stand-off over the signing off on autopsies, Hospersa believed that pathology officers were not qualified forensic pathologists and should not be performing unsupervised autopsies. The health department, however, said their jobs included assisting the forensic pathologists with getting autopsies started if and when necessary. This has left staff disgruntled.

2015-08-29 | Technology a vital tool in identifying remains
“So we’re able to match forensically the dental information of missing persons against unidentified bodies. We’re the only province in Canada right now that’s doing that,” Risling said. “The system that was settled on was a system called Plass Data DVI. Plass is a disaster-victim identification software that is utilized by INTERPOL. It was utilized in Thailand following the tsunami in 2005. It proved to be an effective method of cataloguing dental information in order to perform dental comparisons with the goal of ultimately obtaining the identification of various unidentified victims.”

2015-08-10 | The Mass Grave In Texas No One Talks About
"We have a mass grave in the United States. A mass grave, which we usually equate to countries with war and huge human-rights violations," Frey says. Martinez told Refinery29, "We no longer bury any [migrant] bodies here in Brooks County since August 2013." Instead, the bodies are sent directly to Texas State University forensic teams to be identified.

2015-07-14 | FBI software sped up identifying factory fire victims
The DNA-based identification process for the dead in the Kentex fire may be considered “one of the fastest in Philippine history,” according to Deputy Director Emmanuel Aranas of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory.

2015-07-07 | Out of Line: The UK and US Response to Kidnap-For-Ransom
One leader he had not been addressing was President Obama. Until last week, the policy of the United States towards hostage-taking by designated terrorist organisations was, like that of the UK, clear. The safe release of hostages was to be achieved without ransom payments or political concessions for, in the view of the US, ‘hostage-takers looking for ransoms distinguish between those governments that pay ransoms and those that do not and…make a point of not taking hostages from those countries that refuse to make concessions.’ Yet last week, President Obama announced Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-30 – Hostage Recovery Activities, introducing ambiguity into this previously strongly articulated belief.

2015-07-03 | Lack of data on victims
The lack of available data on the passengers of the Hercules C-130 that crashed in Medan on Tuesday has slowed the process of victim identification. “The challenges relate to our antemortem data, which deals with DNA, teeth, birthmarks and other identifying features of the victims,” the North Sumatra Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team’s deputy chairman Sr. Comr. Didiet Setyobudi told The Jakarta Post at Adam Malik General Hospital on Wednesday.

2015-07-01 | My 977 days held hostage by Somali pirates
One afternoon two years into my captivity, in a dirty villa, I sat up on the mattress and noticed that my guard had left the room. His rifle lay on a mat. I considered grabbing it. The pirates were holding me in Galkacyo, a regional capital in central Somalia. They told me it was Haradheere, near the coast, but I knew Haradheere had no commercial airport, and at first the pirates would giggle every time we heard passenger planes take off and land.

2015-05-07 | Three is the Magic Number for Positive ID
Positive identification of unknown remains is essential to the resolution of criminal investigations, insurance claims, the facilitation of the release of the decedent to family for interment, and the emotional recovery of family and friends. Although radiographic comparisons are commonly used, to date, there has been little to no testing of the validity of using such methods to establish a positive identification.

2015-05-07 | Identifying The Nameless: Advancing The Science Of Human Decomposition To Identify Deceased Migrants
“When someone dies on U.S. soil, it is our responsibility to identify that person,” she said while walking in the shade where cadavers lay on the ground, protected by metal screens. Specifically, Spradley collects data on the rate of decay of these cadavers. It’s part of her research in determining a migrant’s time of death. “Most of the bodies disposed of in a clandestine manner in this part of Texas, it’s usually on the surface," she noted. "It’s very hard to dig a burial there. So knowing how bodies decompose on the surface is very important.”

2015-04-19 | The Maps Within: Using Viruses in Forensic Biology
There is no forensic method that can identify the geographical origins of an individual based upon their genetic makeup. But for unidentified victims of a mass casualty event, pinpointing a victim’s provenance brings investigators one step closer to giving an identity to an unknown and giving closure to those affected. And over the past few years, a team of Japanese researchers have sought to devise such a technique by profiling the human body’s endogenous microbes to suss out our hidden zip codes.

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