Category Archives: Forensic DNA

Crime scene evidence, victims of crime, suspects allegedly involved in crimes and other persons of interest, analysis of blood, semen and saliva for DNA traces, major crime, volume crime (eg property crimes), evidence given at courts and in trials (expert evidence), CrimTrac, Disaster victim identification, missing persons, decomposed remains, new developments in methodology or equipment.
Focus on Queensland issues unless broader implications within the science (i.e. evidence challenged, legislation challenged, improvements in procedures etc)

Job insecurity is driving the best and brightest out of medical research

Brisbane Times Anna Patty April 29 2016

Darren Saunders was developing a cure for pancreatic cancer when he gave up his medical research job to find one that was more secure.
The constant stress of going from contract to contract each year and spending precious time applying for research grants finally took its toll.

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Police say DNA clue in hunt for serial sex offender on the Gold Coast and Brisbane only emerged last week

Gold Coast Bulletin April 29, 2016

POLICE have revealed crucial DNA evidence pointing to a serial sex offender on the Gold Coast and south Brisbane only came to light last week.
Eight sexual assaults have occurred in the past 10 years and DNA proves at least four are the same man, while the other four are suspected to be.
Sexual assaults have almost doubled in the Gold Coast police district between 2010 and 2015, with 494 reported in 2014-15, compared to 292 in 2010-11.
But senior police say there is not a spike in sexual assaults, with many of the reported incidents in 2014-15 historical rapes that occurred many years before.
“Sexual offences increased by 21.5 per cent in 2014-15 and that can be attributed in part to more people reporting incidents of sexual offences to police, especially historical cases,” Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said.
“There were significant historical reports which skewed these figures, the numbers for this financial year are looking much lower.
“But regardless even one sexual assault is one too many.”
Support groups say many sexual assaults still go unreported and most involve perpetrators known to the victim, making the brutal attacks on women in their beds all the more terrifying.
The mystery sex predator stalking women on the Coast and in Brisbane has averaged one attack a month this year, two that are confirmed with DNA.
The third and most recent at Molendinar was an attempted assault, with police confirming a girl in her early teens woke to a man in her room, causing him to flee.
This incident occurred in March, but information regarding it was only released this week.
Asst Comm Codd said sexual assault was a complex crime with many legal stumbling blocks.
“There are times when we don’t release information to protect a victim’s identity, to follow legal process, or to maintain the integrity of investigations” he said.
“Investigations like this take time and thorough investigation, it is nothing like it is portrayed on crime TV shows, DNA results can take weeks, or even longer if it’s a mixed sample.
“As soon as we realised we had a definite pattern we came straight out to the public. No one takes public safety more seriously that we do.
“There still isn’t much information to give, with victim descriptions varying and no firm description of this offender who strikes in the dark.
“We hope our appeal will unearth information that will help us crack this case.”
The eight attacks police believe are linked occurred between 2005 and 2016, but between 2008 and 2015 there are no similar offences in the same areas reported.
Detectives are toying with the theory the offender may have relocated during those years, with DNA proving he was not in prison.
Asst Comm Codd said the offender was not in the system and revealed there was stringent criteria around police holding a person’s DNA sample.
“Police have powers to keep DNA samples for persons who commit indictable offences, but if that person is not persecuted or found not guilty then police must destroy it,” he said.

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Baffling mystery to be probed in second inquest

Townsville Bulletin

A SECOND inquest will finally be held into one of North Queensland’s most baffling mysteries – the disappearance and presumed murder of a backpacker nearly 34 years ago.
Anthony “Tony” Jones from Western Australia vanished from Townsville on ­November 3, 1982, and was reported missing by his family eight days later on November 11 after he failed to meet his brother in Mount Isa.
The first inquest, held in 2002, found that Tony had likely been murdered but there has been no arrest or signs of the young man or his remains, prompting calls for the inquest to be reopened.

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Sexual predator on loose after four confirmed, four potential attacks on Gold Coast and Brisbane

Gold Coast Bulletin April 28, 2016

A SEXUAL predator who first began attacking women in their beds 10 years ago is now averaging one attack a month since the beginning of the year.
Police have revealed DNA evidence proves the same man is responsible for at least four attacks, two on the Gold Coast and two in South Brisbane.
Detectives believe four other attacks on the northern Gold Coast are linked to the same man and say there could be more.
A major police operation has been launched to catch the predator with up to 40 detectives working on the case every day.
The first attack occurred in Runaway Bay in 2005, while the most recent was in Molendinar just last month.

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Body of Maurice Shutter surfaces in Lake Eacham 18 months after disappearance

ABC News Sharnie Kim 27 April 2016

Police have confirmed a body recovered from a far north Queensland lake last week is that of missing man Maurice Shutter.
Mr Shutter, 56, disappeared while paddling across Lake Eacham in an inflatable raft in November 2014, sparking a 26-day search of the popular swimming spot.
Police said the surfacing of the body after 18 months was very unusual, and the case would reshape their understanding of water searches.
Detective Inspector Geoff Marsh said the northern coroner made the identification on Wednesday, based on clothing and dental records as well as the post-mortem examination.

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Lake Eacham body find could open up another mystery

Brisbane Times 27 April 2016

The recent discovery of a body in a picturesque volcanic lake, where a man disappeared more than a year ago, may open one mystery as it solves another.

Study: Hair analysis is an unreliable, flawed forensic technique

UPI Brooks Hays April 21, 2016

Since 1989, 74 people have been sentenced to hard time for serious crimes as a result of hair analysis, only to later be exonerated by DNA analysis.

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