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Science News - May 3, 2013

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Posted: May 3, 2013   10:45 AM

A former criminalist from California who allegedly stole drug evidence is finally on trial, additional investigations have been requested for a Washington State crime lab, and a researcher studies blow flies to help investigators approximate the time of death. Here is the round up of forensic news for the week:
After being indicted for grant theft and possession of illegal drugs collected at a crime lab, a former California criminalist is finally on trial. The criminalist was discovered improperly handling drug evidence, which led to an investigation that found other evidence missing.
Although the original investigation that led to the resignation of a Washington crime lab manager due to his mishandling of case files has ended, an internal management audit and a full evidence audit have been requested. State and local prosecutors, the Washington State Forensics Investigative Council and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, Laboratory Accreditation Board were notified of the investigation.
A Rutgers University graduate student is researching the life cycle of blow flies to help investigators approximate the time of death of crime victims. While bodies decompose at various rates due to many variables, the life cycles of blow flies, which descend on dead bodies, are much more predictable.
In Missouri, problems with funding have delayed a project to implement a computer program that would conduct biometric analysis to prevent fraud. The facial recognition technology, similar to what was used to investigate the Boston marathon bombings, could catch individuals trying to produce multiple forms of photographic identification.

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