Friday, July 31, 2020

Disappearance of Ames Glover

Ames Glover disappeared on 5 February 1990 at the age of five months from the back seat of his father's car in west London. No trace of him has ever been found. Disappearance: Ames's father Paul Glover reported to police that he had left his son in the back seat of his car in Southall for approximately twenty minutes while he went to a cashpoint followed by a take-away restaurant. On his return he discovered that Ames was missing. Police investigations- Initial investigation: Over 2,000 people, including both of Ames's parents, were interviewed by police investigating his disappearance, but no charges were brought and there were no solid leads on what had happened to him. Controversy: Police conduct of the case has been criticised at the time and subsequently. Information about Ames's family set-up (his parents were estranged at the time of his disappearance, and he had been on an "at risk register") was passed to the media by police and it seems likely that this led the case to receive a much lower public profile than other child disappearances around the same time. Ingrained racism in the media and public attitudes has also been implicated: writing about the case in the Independent over two decades after Ames disappeared, Philip Hensher reflected that it is "harder to make a good story out of a missing black child than out of one with blond hair and blue eyes." Reopening of case: After pressure from Ames's mother Shanika Ondaatjie, the case was re-opened in 2002 under the control of Scotland Yard's Racial and Violent Crimes Taskforce. In 2003 police officers travelled to Ghana in west Africa after a tip-off that Ames may have been taken there. A reward was offered for information, but enquiries proved fruitless. DNA tests on two young Ghanaian men named in relation to the case were negative. There have been periodic appeals for new information since then but with no significant progress.

Disappearance of Lisa Stebic

Lisa Michelle Stebic, née Ruttenberg is an American missing person. The mother of two went missing from her home in Plainfield, Illinois on April 30, 2007. Stebic, 38, is 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m) tall, 120 pounds (54 kg), with brown hair and brown eyes. She has two visible tattoos, a small rose on her ankle and a large butterfly on her lower back. Case: Her case has received widespread news coverage. Her husband, Craig Stebic, refused to talk to the police or to help in the investigation or search. The local CBS affiliate (WBBM-TV) broadcast a video of a rival station's reporter Amy Jacobson at the Stebic home wearing a bikini. Jacobson, Craig Stebic's sister, Jill Webb, and her husband, Robert Webb, have all filed lawsuits against WBBM regarding airing of the video. Craig Stebic has never been named a suspect by police, although he has been called "a person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. In October 2007, the FBI added pictures of Lisa and information about her disappearance to its kidnapped and missing-persons website. Stebic's photo and information were shown on national television at the end of the October 11, 2007 broadcast of Without A Trace, a CBS drama about an FBI missing-persons team in New York City and detailed the next morning on The Early Show. No search efforts have continued as of June 2010. As of 2018, Stebic is still a missing person.

Disappearance of John Favara

John Favara (disappeared July 28, 1980, later declared dead in 1983) was the backyard neighbor of Gambino crime family crime boss John Gotti, in Howard Beach, New York who disappeared after he struck and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son, Frank Gotti, by car as he darted into the street on a motorized minibike. Death of Frank Gotti: On March 18, 1980, Gotti's middle son, 12-year-old Frank Gotti, was run over and killed on a family friend's minibike by neighbor, John Favara. Frank's death was ruled an accident, but Favara subsequently received death threats and was attacked by Gotti's wife, Victoria, with a baseball bat when he visited the Gottis to apologize. Disappearance: On July 28, 1980, he was abducted and disappeared. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before Favara and his family were able to move, he was shoved into a van by several men near his place of business. There were several witnesses to the abduction, and accounts ranged from him being beaten with a baseball bat, shot with a silenced .22 caliber pistol, or both. Accounts differed on what was done with Favara's body. One account said that while Favara was alive, he was dismembered with a chainsaw and stuffed into a barrel filled with concrete and dumped in the ocean or buried somewhere on the chop shop lot. After the abduction, Favara's wife and two sons moved out of Howard Beach; John was declared legally dead in 1983. In November 2004, informants led the FBI to excavate a parking lot in New York City suspected to be a mob graveyard and the site of Favara's body. While two bodies were found, Favara's was not among them. When questioned by two detectives on Favara's disappearance, John Gotti said: "I'm not sorry the guy's missing. I wouldn't be sorry if the guy turned up dead." Previously, prosecutors believed Favara's remains were stuffed in a barrel of concrete and tossed off a Sheepshead Bay pier, but Brooklyn federal court papers filed by federal prosecutors the week of January 5, 2009, contain allegations that mob hitman Charles Carneglia killed Favara and disposed of his body in acid. Richard Kuklinski alleged that he carried out dozens of murders on behalf of Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo, including being hired by Gotti to kidnap, torture and murder Favara. Mob expert Jerry Capeci dismissed Kuklinski's claims as "mostly demented ramblings". Portrayal in popular media: Favara's murder is depicted in the 1996 HBO production Gotti. In the film, John Gotti, portrayed by Armand Assante, is shown pointedly admonishing underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, played by William Forsythe, that his son's death was an accident and to "leave it alone". Upon learning of his identity, Gravano is shown beating and shooting Favara in a pedestrian underpass, then fleeing. The incident is also shown in the 2018 film Gotti.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

binge watching

i'm usually binge watching criminal justice stuff. that's awesome. i am happy to listen to it. they're great. that's cool. they're great about the disapearances of things like that. what's crazy is my mom is ok with it


i've been selling books a ton during the shut down. it's insane. i've sold a ton of the scoliosis stuff and vegetarian stuff. i love that. they're great books. i needed a ton of stuff.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Disappearance of Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone Jr.

Danielle (Ottobre) Imbo and Richard A. Petrone Jr. are Americans who disappeared together on February 19, 2005, after visiting a bar on Philadelphia’s South Street. Their case remains unsolved. Background: Imbo, 34, was a resident of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and was separated from her husband at the time of her disappearance. Petrone, 35, resided in Philadelphia and worked at his family’s bakery. The couple had been involved in what family and friends describe as an “on again, off again” romantic relationship. On the evening of Saturday, February 19, Imbo and Petrone joined another couple for drinks at Abeline's bar and restaurant located at 429 South Street. Witnesses stated that the couple left the bar at about 11:45 p.m. en route to Imbo's New Jersey home. They were last seen walking on South Street toward Petrone's parked vehicle, a 2001 Dodge pick-up truck. Investigation: Imbo, Petrone, and their vehicle were not seen again after the night of February 19. Since their disappearance, there has been no activity on Imbo's or Petrone’s cell phones or personal finances. Imbo had a 2-year old son and Petrone had a teenage daughter. Media accounts state that both had close relationships with their children and families and were unlikely to have voluntarily disappeared. Since 2008, the FBI has been investigating the disappearance as a possible murder for hire but has not named any suspects. Media depictions: In 2016, their case was profiled on the podcast The Vanished.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


my family installed a pool in the back yard because of me. i'm like ok. i use it frequently in the summer. it's because of my back i'm using it more. that and i'm "taller slightly." i'm taller because of my back. i did yoga and corrected my back. i'm still small because i take after my dad but i'm still a little taller.

Ipoh white coffee

Ipoh white coffee is a popular coffee drink which originated in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, resulting in Ipoh being named one of the top three coffee towns by Lonely Planet. The coffee beans are roasted with palm oil margarine, and the resulting coffee is served with condensed milk. Origins: The term ‘white coffee’ originates from the literal translation of its Chinese name, which was introduced in the 19th century by Chinese migrants who came to work in the local tin mines. The coffee beans themselves are not actually white; the colour comes from the milk stirred into the end product. In Malaysia, the original white coffee started in the Ipoh and was a drink made from beans roasted in margarine, ground, brewed, and served with sweetened condensed milk. This style of coffee continues to be popular throughout the country. However, “White Coffee” in Malaysia often simply refers to how the drink is prepared and presented - with added milk or creamer. Overseas visitors finding the margarine-roasted coffee beans unorthodox (due to their slight caramelized flavor) are often misled into believing that there is a type of coffee bean endemic to Malaysia called the "white coffee bean". The beans used are invariably imported beans roasted to a light color. Local coffee manufacturers now mix instant coffee powder with non-dairy creamer or whitener and sugar, and market the 3-in-1 mixture as white coffee as well. The mixture is preferred by Malaysians at home or in the office as a convenient easy-to-prepare coffee drink. The advisability, however, of consuming instant coffee mixed with non-dairy creamer and sugar daily is slowly coming into question, with some manufacturers now taking the sugar out of the mixture, and marketing the 2-in-1 mixture as sugar-free white coffee. Styles: Traditionally, Malaysian style ‘black’ coffee roast (Kopi-O) is produced by roasting the beans with sugar, margarine and wheat. ‘White’ coffee, on the other hand, is produced with only margarine and without any sugar, resulting in a less dark roast. Ipoh White Coffee is also widely available in an instant version. It is sometimes consumed after dinner. The generic term ‘Ipoh white coffee’ in Chinese is "白咖啡"(Jyutping: Ji4bou2 Baak6 Kaa1fei1). Baak6 "白" (pinyin: bái), commonly meaning white, has nothing to do with the colour in this instance, but is rather a reference to the way the coffee is roasted. In Chinese, Bái also means ‘without’ or ‘unadulterated’, nothing has been added to the coffee during the roasting process.

White coffee

White coffee can refer to any of a number of different kinds of coffees or coffee substitutes worldwide. Coffee with whitener: In many English-speaking countries, "white coffee" is used to refer to regular black coffee that has had milk, cream or some other "whitener" added to it, though the term is almost entirely unheard of in the US, where the same beverage might be called "coffee light" in the New York City area, "light coffee", "coffee with milk," or "regular coffee" in New England and New York City. Cream varieties, often called "creamers" in the US, can be made of dairy milk, corn syrup derivatives, soy, or nut products. Sweeteners used include cane sugar or artificial ingredients. White coffee should be distinguished from café au lait, in that white coffee uses chilled or room-temperature milk or other whitener, while café au lait uses heated or steamed milk. Other coffee drinks- Malaysia: In Malaysia, the original white coffee started in the Old Town of Ipoh and was a drink made from beans roasted in margarine, ground, brewed and served with sweetened condensed milk. Ipoh Oldtown White Coffee continues to be popular throughout the country. However, “white coffee” in Malaysia often simply refers to how the drink is prepared and presented - with added milk or creamer. Overseas visitors finding the margarine-roasted coffee beans unorthodox (due to their slight caramelized flavor) are often misled into believing that there is a type of coffee bean endemic to Malaysia called the "white coffee bean". The beans used are invariably imported beans roasted to a light color. Local coffee manufacturers now mix instant coffee powder with non-dairy creamer or whitener and sugar, and market the 3-in-1 mixture as white coffee as well. The mixture is preferred by Malaysians at home or in the office as a convenient easy-to-prepare coffee drink. The advisability, however, of consuming instant coffee mixed with non-dairy creamer and sugar daily is slowly coming into question, with some manufacturers now taking the sugar out of the mixture, and marketing the 2-in-1 mixture as sugar-free white coffee. Indonesia: In Indonesia, the term white coffee or kopi putih refers to coffee beans which are roasted less than regular coffee beans. The shorter and lower heat roasting yields lighter-colored coffee beans, called biji kopi putih or white coffee beans. The white coffee beans are harder and different in taste than regular coffee beans. White coffee has a savory and mild taste compared to its regular counterpart. Due to its shorter roasting time, white coffee has a higher concentration of caffeine. Lebanon: Lebanese white coffee "kahwah bayda" (قهوة بيضاء) is a caffeine-free drink made from water, orange blossom water, and sweetened with sugar if desired. Although not the most common substitute for coffee it is occasionally served in lieu of coffee (Turkish coffee). Ahweh bayda is traditionally thought to have a soothing effect when taken. United States: In the United States, white coffee may also refer to coffee beans which have been roasted to a yellow roast level. When prepared as espresso these beans produce a thin yellow brew, with a high acidic note. There is a debate about whether white coffee is more highly caffeinated than darker roasted coffee. In fact, the sublimation point of caffeine is 352 °F (178 °C), about one hundred degrees lower than the typical very dark roast. Coffee beans can catch fire at temperatures lower than 500 °F (260 °C). White coffee is generally used only for making espresso drinks, not simple brewed coffee. With shorter roasting times, natural sugars are not caramelized within the coffee beans, making the coffee less bitter. The flavor of white coffee is frequently described as nutlike, with pronounced acidity. White coffee is usually purchased pre-ground due to the fact that the beans are harder than regular coffee, making it difficult to grind, even using a commercial grinder. For this reason, white coffee usually pours fast when using a commercial espresso machine. It is common for baristas to use the second pour rather than the first because it is believed to have more caffeine and a smoother flavor. Yemen: There is also a form of white coffee, native to Yemen, which refers to the ground shell of the coffee bean. This form of coffee earns its name from its color, and is brewed in the same manner as regular coffee, only with some spices added.


Marocchino (Caffè Marocchino) is a coffee drink created in Alessandria, Italy. It is served in a small glass and consists of a shot of espresso (sometimes a small shot, or ristretto), cocoa powder and milk froth. In some regions of northern Italy, thick hot cocoa is added. In Alba, the home of the Italian chocolate giant Ferrero, Nutella is used. The name Marocchino (Italian for Moroccan) is derived from its colour, as marocchino was a type of light brown leather (see Morocco leather) used in the 1930s to make hair bands. Preparation: Preparation methods vary. Generally, the glass cup is first dusted with cocoa powder, then topped with milk froth and espresso, with a second dusting of cocoa on top.

Monday, July 27, 2020

2003 West Virginia sniper

The 2003 West Virginia sniper attacks were a series of sniper-style shootings that took place over the course of several days in August 2003, leaving three people dead in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The shootings were reminiscent of the Beltway sniper attacks that took place in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC in the fall of 2002. In July 2012, Shawn Lester, who had been indicted for all three murders in 2011, pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of one of the victims. The charges with respect to the other two murders were dropped as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Victims: -August 10, 2003: Gary Carrier Jr., 44, of South Charleston, was fatally shot in the head while talking on a payphone outside a Charleston, West Virginia Go-Mart. -August 14, 2003: Both victims were residents of Campbells Creek, West Virginia. They were slain 90 minutes and 10 miles apart. Jeanie Patton, 31, was killed at a Speedway filling station around 10:30. She was struck by a bullet to the back of her head as she was about to pay for gas she pumped. -Okey Meadows Jr., 26, was shot in the neck while purchasing milk and paying for it through a security window at the Go-Mart on U.S. 60. Investigation: The victims in the West Virginia sniper shootings were killed by a single bullet from long distances as they stopped at shops or gas stations. All three victims were killed late at night by the same kind of small-caliber rifle, although police have not determined if all three were murdered with the same weapon. Ballistic tests show that a .22-caliber rifle was used to kill the second and third victims. The first bullet could not be completely checked due to damage, but appeared to have similar characteristics to the other two bullets. Police said that they were looking for a dark-colored full-size pickup truck. Eyewitnesses believed that the driver was a large white male, but couldn't identify the suspect further due to the darkness. A man was eventually arrested who matched this profile and who had implied to witnesses that he was the sniper, but no charges related to the shootings were ever brought against him. The police considered the possibility that the shootings were drug-related. The second two victims had drug connections, but the police were not aware of any drug connections for the first victim. About five months earlier, while exiting a local Kroger supermarket, Randy Burgess was shot twice in the chest sniper-style and died the next day. Although no hard evidence connected this murder with the three that would follow, law enforcement did not dismiss the possibility. In October 2003, a joint task force investigating the shootings announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer. This reward would later be increased to $100,000. A key witness who had identified a local area resident, Shawn Lester, as the shooter shortly after the murder was ignored by the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, even though he had passed a polygraph test. At some time before the three successive murders, the witness's younger brother had stolen an automobile engine belonging to Lester that had a large quantity of methamphetamine hidden inside. Lester later confided in the witness that "he had taken something important to me, so I'll take something important to him. Keep an eye on the news". Jeannie Patton was the longtime girlfriend of the witness's younger brother. When law enforcement failed to act on his information, the witness agreed to be a guest (anonymously) on a local Public-access television program named "West Virginia's Most Wanted", hosted by Andrew Palmer. The show aired in January 2007, and Palmer presented a theory that a gang called the Charleston Five carried out the shootings. He suggested that two victims were chosen randomly to throw suspicion off the gang for killing its intended target, Jeanie Patton. Seven and a half years later, on March 31, 2011, Shawn Lester was arrested and charged with the murder of Jeannie Patton. The property of a woman believed to have sheltered Lester and his gang was excavated to search for the pickup truck used in at least two of the murders and for bodies of possible further victims. Conviction: Lester was finally indicted for all three murders in August 2011. At the outset of his trial a year later, he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Jeannie Patton. However, the murder charges with respect to Gary Carrier Jr. and Okey Meadows Jr. were dropped as part of the plea bargain. Lester was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Later, an additional 6 years were added to the sentence after he pleaded guilty to firearms possession charges.

Ohio highway sniper attacks

The Ohio highway sniper attacks were a series of 24 sniper attacks along Interstate 270 and other nearby highways in the central part of the U.S. state of Ohio (mostly around Columbus) against traffic, homes, and a vacant school building in the Hamilton Local School district in Obetz, Ohio. The shootings began in May 2003 and continued for several months. One person was killed (62-year-old Gail Knisley, killed on November 25, 2003), and the shootings caused widespread fear. The suspect, Charles A. McCoy Jr., was arrested in Las Vegas on March 17, 2004. McCoy, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1996, stood trial in 2005. The first trial with death penalty charges resulted in a hung jury on May 9, 2005, most likely due to McCoy's severe mental illness. Rather than face a retrial, McCoy accepted a plea arrangement where he avoided the death sentence. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison on August 9, 2005.

Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman

Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman (also known as Serial Shooter) are two gunmen who committed multiple drive-by shootings in Phoenix, Arizona between May 2005 and August 2006. They targeted random pedestrians. The investigations were simultaneous to the search for the Baseline Killer, who was also committing random murders and sexual assaults in the Phoenix area. Dieteman was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Hausner was sentenced to death, and committed suicide in prison. Investigators believe they were responsible for eight murders and at least 29 other shootings. Crimes: In addition to several dozen non-fatal shootings of people and fatal shootings of animals, Hausner and Dieteman were found guilty of the following murders: -David Estrada, 20, shot to death on June 29, 2005. -Nathaniel Shoffner, 44, murdered on November 11, 2005 while attempting to protect a dog from being shot. -Jose Ortiz, 44, was murdered on December 12, 2005. -Marco Carillo, 28, murdered on December 29, 2005. -Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz, 20, shot and killed by Dieteman on May 2, 2006, as Hausner drove. The Serial Shooters' last crime occurred July 30, 2006 in Mesa. According to police, Robin Blasnek, 22, was shot and killed at approximately 11:15 p.m. while walking from her parents' house to a friend's house after having an argument with her boyfriend. On August 3, Phoenix police released a statement linking Blasnek's murder to the Serial Shooter, citing forensic evidence and other similarities to the Serial Shooters' past crimes. Prior to that, they shot pedestrians, cyclists, dogs and horses. Phoenix police originally believed that the Serial Shooter was a single individual responsible for 4 murders and 25 shootings beginning in May 2005, and that a series of 13 shootings in the same area were the work of another offender. However, on July 11, 2006, investigators revealed that they believed the two series of shootings were related. Perpetrators: -Dale Shawn Hausner, 33, had worked as a custodian at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport since 1999 as well as a boxing photojournalist for RingSports and -Samuel John Dieteman, 31, had a history of petty crimes such as shoplifting and drunk driving and had returned to Arizona a few years prior from Minnesota. Capture: Tips identified Hausner and Dieteman as suspects on July 31, 2006. The most important tip came from Ron Horton, a friend of Dieteman, who said Dieteman had confessed to involvement in the shootings while drinking. Horton was at first uncertain whether Dieteman's confession was serious, but went to police after the shooting death of Robin Blasnek of Mesa, Arizona, which he said "affected me quite a bit". On August 3, 2006, police arrested both suspects outside of their apartment in Mesa. On the morning of August 4, 2006, Phoenix police announced that two arrests had been made in connection with the Serial Shooter. Authorities said they also linked Hausner and Dieteman to two arson fires at Wal-Mart stores on June 8, started 45 minutes apart from each other that caused approximately $7 to $10 million in damage. A few weeks prior to his capture, Hausner interviewed former Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, as part of his boxing journalist job. Tyson was interviewed by police officers in regards to the interview, of which, he stated, "...he was a small guy, but a nice guy." Trial: Hausner was charged with 87 crimes attributed to the Serial Shooter investigation, including 8 murders, 19 attempted murders, numerous aggravated assaults, drive-by shootings, firearms charges, cruelty to animals and arson. Hausner was convicted on 6 of 8 murders, and 80 out of 87 charges overall on March 13, 2009. Hausner's former roommate, Samuel Dieteman, has pleaded guilty to two murders, plus conspiracy to commit some of the other related murders. Dieteman received a sentence of life without parole. On March 27, 2009, Dale Hausner was sentenced to six death sentences. Hausner had instructed his attorneys not to oppose a death sentence, saying his execution would help the victims' families heal. After a mandatory appeal, Hausner waived further appeals and requested to be put to death "as soon as possible." During Hausner's half-hour statement to the jury before sentencing, he apologized to several people including his family and compared himself to Charles Manson. On June 19, 2013 was found unresponsive in his cell and died later that day. His autopsy revealed no physical trauma. The medical examiner determined that he had killed himself with an overdose of an anti-depressant.

Rick Koerber

Claud Roderick "Rick" Koerber (born Claud Roderick Franklin) is a Utah criminal convicted on charges of orchestrating and running a $100 million Ponzi scheme, one of the largest in Utah's history. Koerber took in $100 million from 2004 to 2008 by promising his victims returns of 24% to 60% annually, but spent $50 million on Ponzi payments to prior investors, as well as luxury cars and other luxury items, all to give his businesses the false appearance of profitability. Koerber attracted investors with long seminars that combined his views on capitalism with his religious philosophies. He was reported to cite his relationship with Hartman Rector Jr., an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (who was reportedly in attendance for at least one of Koerber's presentations to would-be investors), and to have promised exorbitantly high profits for investors. By connecting his promises of unrealistic investment returns with the commonly shared religious and political views of his local victims, Koerber was using a tactic for building trust with potential victims known as "affinity fraud". Koerber was sentenced to 170 months (14 years, 2 months) in federal prison and restitution of $45 million dollars. Biography: At arraignment in June 2009, Koerber pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, and a trial was set for September 11, 2012. In November 2009, U.S. Federal prosecutors filed 19 additional charges of fraud against Koerber, including one count of mail fraud, six counts of fraud in the offer and sale of securities, one count of sale of unregistered securities, 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and two counts of tax evasion, bringing the total of charges filed to 22. During evidentiary hearings a key piece of evidence was thrown out resulting in one charge being dropped because it was based on a draft of a letter to key investors and there was no evidence it was sent. On March 28, 2014, a federal judge set a new trial date to try the remaining 18 charges, however Judge Clark Waddoups dismissed the case on June 19, 2014 due to the government violating Koerber's right to a speedy trial. The case was dismissed 5 years to the day after Koerber's arraignment. The case was dismissed with prejudice. In December 2014 prosecutors said they were willing to appeal the verdict. Prosecutors appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal in Denver, Colorado. On January 21, 2016, the court found that Waddoups failed to consider the seriousness of the charges and Koerber's contributions in delaying the trial. The case was sent back to the lower court and Waddoups recused himself from reviewing it. On August 25, 2016, federal judge Jill Parrish ruled that the charges could be reinstated. Koerber was again indicted by a grand jury on January 18, 2017, on 18 charges, however, the jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared on October 16, 2017. On November 1, 2017, the United States Attorney's Office (District of Utah) announced plans to retry the case. Filmmaker Richard Dutcher testified about Koerber's $5 million funding of the 2009 erotic horror film Evil Angel while several of Koeber's investors testified they did not know or approve of their money to bankroll a film, which prosecutors characterized as characteristic of Koerber's dishonest practices. On September 20, 2018, a federal jury in the District of Utah convicted Claud R. (“Rick”) Koerber on charges of Fraud in the Offer or Sale of Securities, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering. On October 15, 2019, Judge Frederic Block sentenced Koerber to 170 months (14 years, 2 months) in federal prison and restitution of $45 million dollars. Criminal conviction: "Jury of eight men and four women found Koerber guilty of 15 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. They found him not guilty on two counts of tax evasion." Koerber was sentenced to 170 months (14 years, 2 months) in federal prison and restitution of $45 million dollars.

Friday, July 24, 2020

2019 Northern British Columbia murders

The 2019 Northern British Columbia murders were a spree killing that took place on the Alaska Highway and Stewart–Cassiar Highway in the Canadian province of British Columbia between July 14–19, 2019. Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are believed to have killed Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, before murdering Leonard Dyck within a six-day time frame. By July 23, 2019, McLeod and Schmegelsky had reportedly traversed 3,200 kilometers stretching across four Canadian provinces in ten days. A Canada-wide manhunt for the suspects was initiated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Between July 23 and August 7, McLeod and Schmegelsky had died by suicide by firearm near the Nelson River, northeast of Gillam, Manitoba. Details- Shootings: Australian citizen Lucas Fowler of New South Wales and his girlfriend, American citizen Chynna Deese of North Carolina, were taking a three-week trip around Canada. On July 14, 2019 their 1986 Chevrolet van had broken down along the Alaska Highway, 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs. At approximately 3:20 PM PST, Curtis Broughton, a mechanic, along with his wife Sandra, had stopped to check on the couple. Broughton explained, "They seemed like they kind of had it under control. It was mechanical issues with the van. They were having a picnic waiting for the van to unflood, I guess, and try to start it again". Curtis was assured that the couple knew what they were doing, and saw them "happy" and "smiling" before leaving them shortly after. At approximately 7 AM on July 15, the bodies of Fowler and Deese were discovered by Trevor Pierre, a highway worker. Both victims were found in a ditch close to their van, with their bodies having visible gunshot wounds and lying five feet (1.5 m) apart from one another. Both were lying north, with their heads facing west. The van's back doors were left open with their windows smashed, according to Pierre. On July 19, a burnt-out pickup truck was discovered south of the Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37. The body of Vancouver resident Leonard Dyck was found two kilometres south of the vehicle fire, with "similar circumstances" as Fowler and Deese (whose bodies were found 470 kilometres away). Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were initially reported as missing persons, as it was revealed that they had been operating the pickup truck before it was destroyed. On July 22, the RCMP believed there had been a possible link between the missing persons and murder victims in northern B.C. Manhunt: On July 23, a burning Toyota RAV4 was found near Fox Lake Cree Nation, north of Gillam, Manitoba, believed to be driven by the missing pair. Following this discovery, the RCMP sought second-degree murder charges against McLeod and Schmegelsky in relation to the northern B.C. killings. After the case had received nation-wide attention, a resident of Cold Lake, Alberta reported helping two younger males who had their Toyota RAV4 stuck on July 21. Later that same day, the pair was captured by video surveillance at a Meadow Lake store in Saskatchewan which was turned in to police days later. Eyewitnesses have also recalled spotting McLeod and Schmegelsky twice in the Gillam area of Manitoba on July 22. On the same day, McLeod and Schmegelsky were stopped for a routine alcohol check by Tataskweyak Cree Nation band constables in Split Lake, Manitoba. The pair was eventually released, marking the interaction with band constables as the last confirmed sighting of the suspects, as of July 22. By July 24, the RCMP had deployed the Emergency Response Team, crisis negotiation team, air services and canine units to Gillam and its surrounding area. A checkpoint had been set up at the intersection of Provincial Roads 280 and 290, with heavily armed officers canvassing the area. The RCMP had acknowledged the 'inhospitable' environment with dense forests, swampy terrain, and wild animals. After almost a week of unsuccessful search attempts for the murder suspects in Gillam, the RCMP received a new tip on July 28. Travis Bighetty and Justin Coelho of the Indigenous Bear Clan Patrol spotted two persons with "matching descriptions" of the wanted men at the York Landing community landfill, 200 kilometres southwest of Gillam. By July 29, the RCMP confirmed that they were unable to locate the suspects, reassuring the public of their continued presence in the Gillam and York Landing communities. On July 30, Northeast Ontario Provincial Police received a report of two suspicious men with matching descriptions of McLeod and Schmegelsky near Iron Bridge, east of Sault Ste. Marie. On July 31 at 10:30 AM, OPP James Bay Detachment was notified that the fugitives may have been travelling eastbound in a white vehicle on Highway 11 near Kapuskasing, carrying a firearm. Officers were unable to locate the subjects in either incident. On the same day, nine days after the manhunt began, Manitoba RCMP announced that it was "scaling back" their search operation after being unable to locate the suspects despite inspecting over 11,000 square kilometers and searching more than 500 homes in Gillam, York Landing and their surroundings. By August 1, more unconfirmed locations of the suspects have been reported to the OPP including Sudbury, West Nipissing, North Bay and Parry Sound. A breakthrough came on August 2 when Gillam-based tour guide Clint Sawchuk reported to the RCMP that he had seen a blue sleeping bag at the edge of the Nelson River near where it enters Hudson Bay. On August 6, the RCMP announced it had found several items believed to belong to the suspects on the shore of the Nelson River. A fresh search of the river by the RCMP on August 3 found a damaged rowboat on the northern shore of the Nelson River below the Lower Limestone Rapids, about 65 km north-east of Gillam. Near the rowboat were some other items which the RCMP linked to the suspects. This location was 9 km north-east of where the burning Toyota RAV4 had been found on July 23. An underwater search by the RCMP close to where the rowboat was found did not find anything further. On August 7, RCMP in northern Manitoba reported that they believed they had found the bodies of the two B.C. fugitives in thick bush close to the Nelson River about one kilometre west of where the damaged rowboat had been found. By August 12, an autopsy report from Winnipeg had confirmed that the two bodies found belonged to the wanted suspects and that they had died due to self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Response- Canadian Armed Forces: On July 26, a formal request from RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki was approved by Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan for assistance in locating the perpetrators.[42] By July 27, an RCAF 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron CC-130H Hercules aircraft was deployed from Winnipeg for aerial reconnaissance to the Gillam area, while under RCMP command. The aircraft utilized its high-thermal detection gear in the search, with negative results. Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs: On July 27, 2019 an Indigenous-led neighbourhood watch group arrived in Gillam, at the request of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. They offered volunteer support and services to the residents of the town, amid the high-risk manhunt in the area. Social media: The manhunt sparked the creation of Facebook groups theorizing the suspects’ next moves while also caused online trolls to emerge, tease police and to encourage the suspects in evading search efforts; one of those was an entity known as Thomasabrahamutoyo who alleged that the suspects were his friends and taunted that they are "smarter than you think". Misconception- Highway of Tears: The initial reports of the murders in northern B.C. have promoted confusion among some foreign media outlets. The locations of the murders had been incorrectly identified as taking place on, or near the infamous Highway of Tears. The stretch of highway is known for its decades-long unsolved murders and disappearances of indigenous women.

Pollen calendar

A pollen calendar is used to show the peak pollen times for different types of plant pollen, which causes allergic reactions in certain people. In forensics: A pollen calendar can be a very useful tool in forensic science, because it can be used to place the month, or week, or date of death. The use of pollen for criminal investigation purposes is called "forensic palynology". However, the use of a pollen calendar to set the date of death should be used with extreme caution, and only by a carefully trained expert witness. The CSI effect has put pressure on some police officers and district attorneys to provide pollen-based evidence, but such evidence "appears to be of limited use in the forensic context where outcomes are scrutinised in court."

Perry Mason syndrome

The Perry Mason syndrome is the manner in which the television crime drama Perry Mason (1957–1966) may have affected perceptions of the United States legal system among defendants and jurors. Typical Perry Mason episode: In a typical episode of Perry Mason, a series involving a fictional Los Angeles defense attorney which initially ran from September 1957 to May 1966, the first half of the show usually depicted the prospective murder victim as being deserving of homicide, often with Mason's client publicly threatening to kill the victim. After Mason's client is charged with murder, during the preliminary hearing for the trial Mason would establish his client's innocence by dramatically demonstrating the guilt of another character. The real murderer would nearly always break down and confess to the crime in the courtroom, often while on the witness stand. Jurors: The Perry Mason syndrome purports that, due to the oversimplified manner in which trial proceedings were presented on the popular crime drama Perry Mason, jurors who watched the program would enter trials with misconceptions about how the legal process works. Some argue that the Perry Mason syndrome greatly reinforced the presumption of innocence of the defendant, which may have been problematic when the defendant was guilty. Others argue that, because Perry Mason was often able to cause witnesses to confess, jurors would expect similar "Perry Mason moments" to occur in real trials as well. This shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense. In one case, a juror told the defense attorney that the jury had voted to convict the defendant because the prosecution's key witness did not confess during cross-examination. Defendants: The Perry Mason syndrome has been cited as a reason some defendants would choose to appear pro se—representing oneself in court rather than being represented by a lawyer. The simplified portrayals of trials on the television series led some defendants to underestimate the seriousness of their predicaments. Consistent viewers of the show may have also believed that they had gained an intimate understanding of the United States legal system and would be able to represent themselves better than an attorney could. This effect may have been exacerbated by the tendency for news media to oversimplify their coverage of trial proceedings.

Disappearance of Royal Marine Alan Addis

Alan Addis Jwas a British serviceman who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in August 1980 while serving with the Royal Marines in the Falkland Islands. It was initially suggested that Addis had drowned in an accident, but it is now widely believed that he was murdered. Police investigations have resulted in arrests, but no one has ever been charged in connection with his disappearance and his body has never been found. Background: Addis was a member of Naval Party 8901, a Royal Marines unit which in 1966 was assigned to the Falklands, to be rotated yearly. Led by a Major, the unit's role was to maintain a strategic tripwire military presence on the islands and to provide military and civil defence training for the local defence force, consisting of 120 Volunteers spaced throughout the island and its various settlements. His RM platoon, consisting of 42-men split into 5 to 8 man sections (each led by a Corporal or a Lieutenant), was based at Moody Brook Barracks, six miles west of Port Stanley. Disappearance: At the time of his disappearance, Addis was part of a three-man team that had journeyed to the remote settlement of North Arm in Lafonia on East Falkland, approximately 90 miles (140 km) from the Falklands capital Stanley, to pick up three other Royal Marines and the equipment for an FIDF unit in North Arm, after a week long training. After that, they were to head to Fitzroy in order to train FIDF volunteers over there. On the evening of 8 August, Addis and the other marines attended a function in the village hall (that doubled as a social club) alongside 40 locals. The marines left the event at different times in ones and twos to various local homes, and Addis's colleagues reported last seeing him at around 1:30 am. The following morning the rest of the team began the journey back to Stanley on the steamer MV Forrest. It was not until 30 minutes after they had set sail that it was discovered that Addis was missing. There remains a degree of confusion over the precise sequence of events, and uncertainty over when and how word of the disappearance reached the North Arm community (some of whom appeared to be aware of it in advance of the official announcement) has served to compound the mystery. In particular, a lone land rover was seen heading towards Goose Green. Some specialists from the later forensic team found it unusual it travelled with no other car (to help them in case it got stuck in the road). It was speculated the driver may have been carrying Addis' body. The initial view was that Addis had either fallen overboard or mistakenly stepped off a jetty into the cold waters of the South Atlantic in the Bay of Harbours. His mother, Anne Addis, was contacted at her home in England with the news that Alan was missing on patrol, but then the following day the police visited her to inform her that Alan was presumed drowned in an accident. Over the next few weeks a number of other possible explanations were put forward. These included the suggestion that Addis had become disoriented and wandered off into the Falklands hinterland, possibly succumbing to hypothermia. An air and sea search of the islands and the waters around them (including an underwater search by divers) failed to find any trace of the missing marine and was eventually called off. Later that year, an inquest on the Falklands returned an open verdict. Military investigation: In November 1981 Anne Addis travelled to the Falklands by military transport to make enquiries of her own. She became convinced that foul play was involved and asked the Ministry of Defence to initiate a new investigation led by the Special Investigations Branch (SIB) of the Royal Military Police. She argued that the SIB were better equipped – in terms of personnel, training and experience – to undertake such an enquiry, than the islands' own tiny police force which then consisted of one full-time and a handful of part-time constables. In response, an SIB officer was dispatched to the Falklands, though his eventual report was confidential and Mrs Addis was not given sight of it. The situation was further complicated in April the following year when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the islands. The subsequent conflict between Britain and Argentina, known as the Falklands War, saw British forces retake the islands and the Argentines surrendering on 2 June 1982. During the course of the conflict the local police files on the Addis case were lost, possibly destroyed deliberately by the Falklands authorities to prevent information about British military deployments on the islands falling into Argentine hands. Investigations 1993–1995: In the years following the war, Mrs Addis continued to pressure the British and the Falklands authorities for a new enquiry and remained in contact with a number of Falklanders. In 1993 rumours reached her of an overheard conversation in a Falklands pub where an islander allegedly boasted of their involvement in the murder of Alan Addis. This information was passed to the now reformed, enlarged and renamed Royal Falkland Islands Police. By that time, the Falklands force had re-opened their investigation and were able to discount that particular rumour. They did nevertheless conclude that Addis had been murdered and identified four local islanders as prime suspects. In 1995, having reached an impasse, the Falklands force passed the enquiry to Devon and Cornwall Police, and a team of detectives flew out from the UK. In September of that year, in an operation involving Chinook helicopters from the Royal Air Force base at RAF Mount Pleasant, officers from the Devon and Cornwall Police and the Royal Falkland Islands Police arrested four Falklands men. The men were later released without charge. "Bodyhunters" documentary: In 1997, an attempt was made to locate Addis's body by a specialist UK team. The group included Professor John Hunter a forensic archaeologist at the University of Birmingham and head of the highly regarded Forensic Search and Advisory group (set up to advise and assist police in locating human remains). The team also included experts with ground penetrating radar and a specially trained sniffer dog from Lancashire Police led by Sergeant Mick Swindells. Despite searching over 54 locations the team found no trace of Marine Addis. The investigation was filmed by the television production company Lion Films for a documentary programme screened on British television in 1998 as part of the Channel 4 series Equinox. The programme followed the team's efforts to identify the location of Addis's remains and recorded interviews with his mother, his former Royal Marine comrades and a number of Falklanders. It included interviews with two of the men arrested following the earlier inquiry in 1995. Both men flatly denied any involvement in Addis's disappearance. The programme considered a number of persistent rumours that had been circulating over the years. The first of these was that Addis had been murdered because he had been found in flagrante delicto with the wife of a local landowner, who was interviewed by the programme makers and dismissed the suggestion, though he admitted being aware of such a story. The second rumour concerned the death of a local shepherd, Johnny Biggs, killed in a fire at a bunkhouse in North Arm some two weeks after Addis's disappearance. In the programme Falklanders voiced their suspicions that the man had not actually died in the fire, but had been murdered and the fire started deliberately to conceal this. The fact that his death had occurred shortly before he was allegedly due to give evidence to the Board of Inquiry, together with alleged shortcomings in the fire investigation, were cited as indicating a potential link with the Addis case. According to the programme, there was local speculation that the man had been killed to prevent him giving evidence because he had information about Addis's fate, possibly through being privy to a conversation that implicated another islander in Addis's disappearance. Metropolitan Police investigation: In December 2010, a Metropolitan Police team visited the Falklands to conduct a further search. This followed a tip off from a former Falklands resident who had contacted Anne Addis with information on where Alan's body was buried. Although no body was found, it was reported that the search had turned up new clues and that a follow-up visit to the islands was planned. It was further reported that the head of the Royal Falkland Islands Police had taken the unusual step of offering police protection to anyone prepared to come forward with information. 2018 Forces TV Documentary: Starting in June, 2018, the YouTube channel of the British Forces Broadcasting Service began uploading (in 1/4 parts) a 46-minute documentary on the subject of his early life, and eventual disappearance. The film's producers in particular spoke with several of the specialists who had participated in the 1998 Equinox programme. Most of those interviewed, specialists, former police, civilian, and ex-military acquaintances alike, shared the opinion that he'd been murdered. With most islanders working either for the local civil service, Falkland Islands Company, or British absentee landlords, later rumours mentioned an unofficial town chief with two "strongmen" who enforced his will, thus making him a force to be dealt with in the community. Additionally, several of the aforementioned interviewees expressed their view that Addis had been murdered without premeditation in a fight over a woman, after which the body was allegedly transported out of the settlement. There have been several noted cases of violence between islanders and soldiers and/or by soldiers directed at islanders. Memorials: A memorial plaque commemorating Alan Addis is on display in Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley. Anne Addis established a memorial fund in honour of her son, but in May 2010 she announced that she was to wind this up and donate the monies raised to the Help for Heroes fund for British servicemen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

DNA phenotyping

DNA phenotyping (fee-no-type-ing) is the process of predicting an organism's phenotype using only genetic information collected from genotyping or DNA sequencing. This term, also known as molecular photofitting, is primarily used to refer to the prediction of a person's physical appearance and/or biogeographic ancestry for forensic purposes. DNA phenotyping uses many of the same scientific methods as those being used for genetically-informed personalized medicine, in which drug responsiveness (pharmacogenomics) and medical outcomes are predicted from a patient's genetic information. Significant genetic variants associated with a particular trait are discovered using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach, in which hundreds of thousands or millions of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are tested for their association with each trait of interest. Predictive modeling is then used to build a mathematical model for making trait predictions about new subjects. Predicted phenotypes: Human phenotypes are predicted from DNA using direct or indirect methods. With direct methods, genetic variants mechanistically linked with variable expression of the relevant phenotypes are measured and used with appropriate statistical methodologies to infer trait value. With indirect methods, variants associated with genetic component(s) of ancestry that correlate with the phenotype of interest, such as Ancestry Informative Markers, are measured and used with appropriate statistical methodologies to infer trait value. The direct method is always preferable, for obvious reasons, but depending on the genetic architecture of the phenotype, is not always possible. Biogeographic ancestry determination methods have been highly developed within the genetics community, as it is a key GWAS quality control step. These approaches typically use genome-wide human genetic clustering and/or principal component analysis to compare new subjects to curated individuals with known ancestry, such as the International HapMap Project or the 1000 Genomes Project. Another approach is to assay ancestry informative markers (AIMs), SNPs that vary in frequency between the major human populations. As early as 2004, evidence was compiled showing that the bulk of phenotypic variation in human iris color could be attributed to polymorphisms in the OCA2 gene. This paper, and the work it cited, laid the foundation for the inference of human iris color from DNA, first carried out on basic level by DNAPrint Genomics. Beginning in 2009, academic groups developed and reported on more accurate predictive models for eye color and, more recently, hair color in the European population. More recently, companies such as Parabon NanoLabs and Identitas have begun offering forensic DNA phenotyping services for U.S. and international law enforcement. DNA phenotyping is often referred to as a "biologic witness," a play on the term eye-witness. Just as an eye-witness may describe the appearance of a person of interest, the DNA left at a crime scene can be used to discover the physical appearance of the person who left it. This allows DNA phenotyping to be used as an investigative tool to help guide the police when searching for suspects. DNA phenotyping can be particularly helpful in cold cases, where there may not be a current lead. However, it is not a method used to help incarcerate suspects, as more tradition forensic measures are better suited for this. Pigmentation Prediction: One online tool available to the public and law enforcement is the HIrisPlex-S System. This system uses SNPs that are linked to human pigmentation to predict an individual's phenotype. Using the multiplex assay described in three separate papers, the genotype for 41 different SNPs can be generated, which are linked to hair, eye and skin color in humans. The genotype can then be entered into the HIrisPlex-S System to generate the most probable phenotype of an individual based on their genetic information. This tool originally started as the IrisPlex System, consisting of six SNPs linked to eye color (rs12913832, rs1800407, rs12896399, rs16891982, rs1393350 and rs12203592). The addition of 18 SNPs linked to both hair and eye color lead to the updated HIrisPlex System (rs312262906, rs11547464, rs885479, rs1805008, rs1805005, rs1805006, rs1805007, rs1805009, rs201326893, rs2228479, rs1110400, rs28777, rs12821256, rs4959270, rs1042602, rs2402130, rs2378249 and rs683). Another assay was developed using 17 SNPs involved in skin pigmentation to create the current HIris-SPlex System (s3114908, rs1800414, rs10756819, rs2238289, rs17128291, rs6497292, rs1129038, rs1667394, rs1126809, rs1470608, rs1426654, rs6119471, rs1545397, rs6059655, rs12441727, rs3212355 and rs8051733). The predictions for eye pigmentation are Blue, Intermediate and Brown. There are two categories for hair pigmentation: color (Blond, Brown, Red and Black) and shade (light and dark). The predictions for skin pigmentation are Very Pale, Pale, Intermediate, Dark and Dark to Black. Unlike eye and hair predictions where only the highest probability is used to make a prediction, the top two highest probabilities for skin color are used to account for tanning ability and other variations. Genes responsible for facial features: In 2018, researchers found 15 loci in which genes are found that are responsible for our facial features. Differences from DNA profiling: Traditional DNA profiling, sometimes referred to as DNA fingerprinting, uses DNA as a biometric identifier. Like an iris scan or fingerprint, a DNA profile can uniquely identify an individual with very high accuracy. For forensic purposes, this means that investigators must have already identified and obtained DNA from a potentially matching individual. DNA phenotyping is used when investigators need to narrow the pool of possible individuals or identify unknown remains by learning about the person's ancestry and appearance. When the suspected individual is identified, traditional DNA profiling can be used to prove a match, provided there is a reference sample that can be used for comparison. Published DNA phenotyping composites: -On 9 January 2015, the fourth anniversary of the murders of Candra Alston and her three-year-old daughter Malaysia Boykin, police in Columbia, South Carolina, issued a press release containing what is thought to be the first composite image in forensic history to be published entirely on the basis of a DNA sample. The image, produced by Parabon NanoLabs with the company's Snapshot DNA Phenotyping System, consists of a digital mesh of predicted face morphology overlaid with textures representing predicted eye color, hair color and skin color. Kenneth Canzater Jr. was charged with the murders in 2017. -On 30 June 2015, NBC Nightly News featured a DNA phenotyping composite, also produced by Parabon, of a suspect in the 1988 murder of April Tinsley near Fort Wayne, Indiana. The television segment also included a composite of national news correspondent Kate Snow, which was produced using DNA extracted from the rim of a water bottle that the network submitted to Parabon for a blinded test of the company's Snapshot™ DNA Phenotyping Service. Snow's identity and her use of the bottle were revealed only after the composite had been produced. In 2018 John D. Miller was charged with the murder. -Sheriff Tony Mancuso of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, held a press conference on 1 September 2015 to announce the release of a Parabon Snapshot composite for a suspect in the 2009 murder of Sierra Bouzigard in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. The investigation had previously focused on a group of Hispanic males with whom Bouzigard was last seen. Snapshot analysis indicates the suspect is predominantly European, with fair skin, green or possibly blue eyes and brown or black hair. Sheriff Mancuso told the media, “This totally redirects our whole investigation and will move this case in a new direction.” Blake A. Russell was charged with the murder in 2017. -Florida police chiefs from Miami Beach, Miami, Coral Gables and Miami-Dade jointly released a Snapshot composite of the “Serial Creeper” on 10 September 2015. For more than a year, the perpetrator has been spying on and sexually terrorizing women, and police believe he is connected to at least 15 crimes, possibly as many as 40. In a Miami Beach attack on 18 August 2015, which was first reported to the public on 23 September 2015, the perpetrator spoke in Spanish and told his victim he was from Cuba. Consistent with this claim, Snapshot had previously determined that the subject is Latino, with European, Native American, and African ancestry, an admixture most similar to that found in Latino individuals from the Caribbean and Northern South America. -On 2 February 2016, the Anne Arundel County Maryland Police Department released what is believed to be the first published composite created by combining DNA phenotyping and forensic facial reconstruction from a victim's skull. The victim's body which had suffered severe upper body trauma was found on 23 April 1985 in a metal trash container at the construction site of the Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie, MD. Police initially estimated the homicide occurred approximately five months before the body was discovered. Later the date of death was changed to about 1963. Thom Shaw, an IAI-certified forensic artist at Parabon NanoLabs, performed the physical facial reconstruction and the digital adaptation of a Snapshot composite to reflect details gleaned from the victim's facial morphology. In 2019, with the help of Parabon and genetic genealogy, the body was identified as Roger Kelso, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1943. The murderer was not identified. Police in Tacoma, Washington, disclosed Parabon Snapshot reports to the public on 6 April 2016 for two male suspects believed to be individually responsible for the deaths of Michella Welch (age 12) and Jennifer Bastian (age 13), both abducted from Tacoma's North End area in 1986, just four months apart.[26] Investigators long believed one person committed both crimes because of their many similarities. However, 2016 DNA testing proved two individuals were separately involved. Snapshot descriptions of the two killers were released to aid the public in generating new leads for the investigations. In 2018 Gary Charles Hartman and Robert D. Washburn were charged with the murders of the two girls. In 2019 Washington State passed a law called "Jennifer and Michella's law" named after the two murdered girls. This law allowed police to take DNA samples from people convicted of indecent exposure and from dead sex offenders. -Also on 6 April 2016, police in Athens Ohio released a Snapshot composite of an active sexual predator linked to at least three attacks, the most recent in December 2015 near Ohio University. -On 15 April 2016, the Hallandale each Florida Police Department released a Snapshot composite of a suspect believed to be responsible for the murders of Toronto residents David “Donny” Pichosky and Rochelle Wise. It was the first time a Snapshot composite of a female was released to the public. -On 21 April 2016, police in Windsor, Canada, released a Snapshot composite of the suspect responsible for the abduction and murder of Ljubica Topic in 1971. It was the first public release of a Snapshot composite outside of the United States and, at the time, the oldest case to which the technology had been applied. -On 11 May, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in Virginia released a Snapshot composite of a suspect responsible for abducting and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in 1987. -On 16 May 2016, eve of the third anniversary of veteran John “Jack” Fay's murder, the Warwick Rhode Island Police Department released a Snapshot composite produced using DNA taken from a hammer found near the crime scene. Police hoped the composite would generate fresh leads in a case that may have involved multiple assailants. -On 3 May 2017 Idaho Falls, Idaho Police released a DNA phenotype composite sketch from DNA found at the murder scene of Angie Dodge on 13 June 1996. Police hoped the widespread distribution of the composite sketch would generate new leads into the suspect. Excerpt from Idaho Falls Police Department Press release: "The crime scene and evidence collected at the scene, including the collection and extraction of one major and two minor DNA profiles, indicates that there was more than one individual involved in the death of Angie Dodge. With current technologies, the major profile collected is the only viable DNA sample that can be used to make an identification." Christopher Tapp was released in 2017 after spending 20 years in jail for taking part in the rape and murder of Angie Dodge although his DNA did not match DNA at the crime scene. In May 2019 Brian Leigh Dripps confessed to the murder of Dodge after Idaho Falls, Idaho Police charged Dripps. Dripps DNA matched DNA left at the crime scene. Parabon Nanolabs had helped investigate this case using DNA genetic genealogy and GEDmatch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

DNA profiling

DNA profiling (also called DNA fingerprinting) is the process of determining an individual's DNA characteristics. DNA analysis intended to identify a species, rather than an individual, is called DNA barcoding. DNA profiling is a forensic technique in criminal investigations, comparing criminal suspects' profiles to DNA evidence so as to assess the likelihood of their involvement in the crime. It is also used in parentage testing, to establish immigration eligibility, and in genealogical and medical research. DNA profiling has also been used in the study of animal and plant populations in the fields of zoology, botany, and agriculture. Background: Starting in the 1980s scientific advances allowed the use of DNA as a material for the identification of an individual. The first patent covering the direct use of DNA variation for forensics was filed by Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg in 1983, based upon work he had done while at Rockefeller University in 1981. In the United Kingdom, Geneticist Sir Alec Jeffreys independently developed a DNA profiling process in beginning in late 1984 while working in the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester. The process, developed by Jeffreys in conjunction with Peter Gill and Dave Werrett of the Forensic Science Service (FSS), was first used forensically in the solving of the murder of two teenagers who had been raped and murdered in Narborough, Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. In the murder inquiry, led by Detective David Baker, the DNA contained within blood samples obtained voluntarily from around 5,000 local men who willingly assisted Leicestershire Constabulary with the investigation, resulted in the exoneration of a man who had confessed to one of the crimes, and the subsequent conviction of Colin Pitchfork. Pitchfork, a local bakery employee, had coerced his coworker Ian Kelly to stand in for him when providing a blood sample—Kelly then used a forged passport to impersonate Pitchfork. Another coworker reported the deception to the police. Pitchfork was arrested, and his blood was sent to Jeffrey's lab for processing and profile development. Pitchfork's profile matched that of DNA left by the murderer which confirmed Pitchfork's presence at both crime scenes; he pleaded guilty to both murders. Although 99.9% of human DNA sequences are the same in every person, enough of the DNA is different that it is possible to distinguish one individual from another, unless they are monozygotic (identical) twins. DNA profiling uses repetitive sequences that are highly variable, called variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs), in particular short tandem repeats (STRs), also known as microsatellites, and minisatellites. VNTR loci are similar between closely related individuals, but are so variable that unrelated individuals are unlikely to have the same VNTRs. In India DNA fingerprinting was started by Dr. VK Kashyap and Dr. Lalji Singh. Dr.Singh was an Indian scientist who worked in the field of DNA fingerprinting technology in India, where he was popularly known as the "Father of Indian DNA fingerprinting". Profiling processes: The process, developed by Glassberg and independently by Jeffreys, begins with a sample of an individual's DNA (typically called a "reference sample"). Reference samples are usually collected through a buccal swab. When this is unavailable (for example, when a court order is needed but unobtainable) other methods may be needed to collect a sample of blood, saliva, semen, vaginal lubrication, or other fluid or tissue from personal use items (for example, a toothbrush, razor) or from stored samples (for example, banked sperm or biopsy tissue). Samples obtained from blood relatives can indicate an individual's profile, as could previous profiled human remains. A reference sample is then analyzed to create the individual's DNA profile using one of the techniques discussed below. The DNA profile is then compared against another sample to determine whether there is a genetic match. DNA extraction: When a sample such as blood or saliva is obtained, the DNA is only a small part of what is present in the sample. Before the DNA can be analyzed, it must be extracted from the cells and purified. There are many ways this can be accomplished, but all methods follow the same basic procedure. The cell and nuclear membranes need to be broken up to allow the DNA to be free in solution. Once the DNA is free, it can be separated from all other cellular components. After the DNA has been separated in solution, the remaining cellular debris can then be removed from the solution and discarded, leaving only DNA. The most common methods of DNA extraction include organic extraction (also called phenol chloroform extraction), Chelex extraction, and solid phase extraction. Differential extraction is a modified version of extraction in which DNA from two different types of cells can be separated from each other before being purified from the solution. Each method of extraction works well in the laboratory, but analysts typically selects their preferred method based on factors such as the cost, the time involved, the quantity of DNA yielded, and the quality of DNA yielded. After the DNA is extracted from the sample, it can be analyzed, whether it is by RFLP analysis or quantification and PCR analysis. RFLP analysis: The first methods for finding out genetics used for DNA profiling involved RFLP analysis. DNA is collected from cells and cut into small pieces using a restriction enzyme (a restriction digest). This generates DNA fragments of differing sizes as a consequence of variations between DNA sequences of different individuals. The fragments are then separated on the basis of size using gel electrophoresis. The separated fragments are then transferred on to a nitrocellulose or nylon filter; this procedure is called a Southern blot. The DNA fragments within the blot are permanently fixed to the filter, and the DNA strands are denatured. Radiolabeled probe molecules are then added that are complementary to sequences in the genome that contain repeat sequences. These repeat sequences tend to vary in length among different individuals and are called variable number tandem repeat sequences or VNTRs. The probe molecules hybridize to DNA fragments containing the repeat sequences and excess probe molecules are washed away. The blot is then exposed to an X-ray film. Fragments of DNA that have bound to the probe molecules appear as fluorescent bands on the film. The Southern blot technique requires large amounts of non-degraded sample DNA. Also, Alec Jeffrey's original multilocus RFLP technique looked at many minisatellite loci at the same time, increasing the observed variability, but making it hard to discern individual alleles (and thereby precluding paternity testing). These early techniques have been supplanted by PCR-based assays. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis: Developed by Kary Mullis in 1983, a process was reported by which specific portions of the sample DNA can be amplified almost indefinitely (Saiki et al. 1985, 1985) The process, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), mimics the biological process of DNA replication, but confines it to specific DNA sequences of interest. With the invention of the PCR technique, DNA profiling took huge strides forward in both discriminating power and the ability to recover information from very small (or degraded) starting samples. PCR greatly amplifies the amounts of a specific region of DNA. In the PCR process, the DNA sample is denatured into the separate individual polynucleotide strands through heating. Two oligonucleotide DNA primers are used to hybridize to two corresponding nearby sites on opposite DNA strands in such a fashion that the normal enzymatic extension of the active terminal of each primer (that is, the 3’ end) leads toward the other primer. PCR uses replication enzymes that are tolerant of high temperatures, such as the thermostable Taq polymerase. In this fashion, two new copies of the sequence of interest are generated. Repeated denaturation, hybridization, and extension in this fashion produce an exponentially growing number of copies of the DNA of interest. Instruments that perform thermal cycling are readily available from commercial sources. This process can produce a million-fold or greater amplification of the desired region in 2 hours or less. Early assays such as the HLA-DQ alpha reverse dot blot strips grew to be very popular owing to their ease of use, and the speed with which a result could be obtained. However, they were not as discriminating as RFLP analysis. It was also difficult to determine a DNA profile for mixed samples, such as a vaginal swab from a sexual assault victim. However, the PCR method was readily adaptable for analyzing VNTR, in particular STR loci. In recent years, research in human DNA quantitation has focused on new "real-time" quantitative PCR (qPCR) techniques. Quantitative PCR methods enable automated, precise, and high-throughput measurements. Inter-laboratory studies have demonstrated the importance of human DNA quantitation on achieving reliable interpretation of STR typing and obtaining consistent results across laboratories. STR analysis: The system of DNA profiling used today is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and uses simple sequences or short tandem repeats (STR). This method uses highly polymorphic regions that have short repeated sequences of DNA (the most common is 4 bases repeated, but there are other lengths in use, including 3 and 5 bases). Because unrelated people almost certainly have different numbers of repeat units, STRs can be used to discriminate between unrelated individuals. These STR loci (locations on a chromosome) are targeted with sequence-specific primers and amplified using PCR. The DNA fragments that result are then separated and detected using electrophoresis. There are two common methods of separation and detection, capillary electrophoresis (CE) and gel electrophoresis. Each STR is polymorphic, but the number of alleles is very small. Typically each STR allele will be shared by around 5–20% of individuals. The power of STR analysis derives from inspecting multiple STR loci simultaneously. The pattern of alleles can identify an individual quite accurately. Thus STR analysis provides an excellent identification tool. The more STR regions that are tested in an individual the more discriminating the test becomes. From country to country, different STR-based DNA-profiling systems are in use. In North America, systems that amplify the CODIS 20 core loci are almost universal, whereas in the United Kingdom the DNA-17 17 loci system (which is compatible with The National DNA Database) is in use, and Australia uses 18 core markers. Whichever system is used, many of the STR regions used are the same. These DNA-profiling systems are based on multiplex reactions, whereby many STR regions will be tested at the same time. The true power of STR analysis is in its statistical power of discrimination. Because the 20 loci that are currently used for discrimination in CODIS are independently assorted (having a certain number of repeats at one locus does not change the likelihood of having any number of repeats at any other locus), the product rule for probabilities can be applied. This means that, if someone has the DNA type of ABC, where the three loci were independent, then the probability of that individual having that DNA type is the probability of having type A times the probability of having type B times the probability of having type C. This has resulted in the ability to generate match probabilities of 1 in a quintillion (1x1018) or more. However, DNA database searches showed much more frequent than expected false DNA profile matches. Moreover, since there are about 12 million monozygotic twins on Earth, the theoretical probability is not accurate. In practice, the risk of contaminated-matching is much greater than matching a distant relative, such as contamination of a sample from nearby objects, or from left-over cells transferred from a prior test. The risk is greater for matching the most common person in the samples: Everything collected from, or in contact with, a victim is a major source of contamination for any other samples brought into a lab. For that reason, multiple control-samples are typically tested in order to ensure that they stayed clean, when prepared during the same period as the actual test samples. Unexpected matches (or variations) in several control-samples indicates a high probability of contamination for the actual test samples. In a relationship test, the full DNA profiles should differ (except for twins), to prove that a person was not actually matched as being related to their own DNA in another sample. AFLP: Another technique, AFLP, or amplified fragment length polymorphism was also put into practice during the early 1990s. This technique was also faster than RFLP analysis and used PCR to amplify DNA samples. It relied on variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphisms to distinguish various alleles, which were separated on a polyacrylamide gel using an allelic ladder (as opposed to a molecular weight ladder). Bands could be visualized by silver staining the gel. One popular focus for fingerprinting was the D1S80 locus. As with all PCR based methods, highly degraded DNA or very small amounts of DNA may cause allelic dropout (causing a mistake in thinking a heterozygote is a homozygote) or other stochastic effects. In addition, because the analysis is done on a gel, very high number repeats may bunch together at the top of the gel, making it difficult to resolve. AmpFLP analysis can be highly automated, and allows for easy creation of phylogenetic trees based on comparing individual samples of DNA. Due to its relatively low cost and ease of set-up and operation, AmpFLP remains popular in lower income countries. DNA family relationship analysis: Using PCR technology, DNA analysis is widely applied to determine genetic family relationships such as paternity, maternity, siblingship and other kinships. During conception, the father's sperm cell and the mother's egg cell, each containing half the amount of DNA found in other body cells, meet and fuse to form a fertilized egg, called a zygote. The zygote contains a complete set of DNA molecules, a unique combination of DNA from both parents. This zygote divides and multiplies into an embryo and later, a full human being. At each stage of development, all the cells forming the body contain the same DNA—half from the father and half from the mother. This fact allows the relationship testing to use all types of all samples including loose cells from the cheeks collected using buccal swabs, blood or other types of samples. There are predictable inheritance patterns at certain locations (called loci) in the human genome, which have been found to be useful in determining identity and biological relationships. These loci contain specific DNA markers that scientists use to identify individuals. In a routine DNA paternity test, the markers used are short tandem repeats (STRs), short pieces of DNA that occur in highly differential repeat patterns among individuals. Each person's DNA contains two copies of these markers—one copy inherited from the father and one from the mother. Within a population, the markers at each person's DNA location could differ in length and sometimes sequence, depending on the markers inherited from the parents. The combination of marker sizes found in each person makes up their unique genetic profile. When determining the relationship between two individuals, their genetic profiles are compared to see if they share the same inheritance patterns at a statistically conclusive rate. The partial results indicate that the child and the alleged father's DNA match among these five markers. The complete test results show this correlation on 16 markers between the child and the tested man to enable a conclusion to be drawn as to whether or not the man is the biological father. Each marker is assigned with a Paternity Index (PI), which is a statistical measure of how powerfully a match at a particular marker indicates paternity. The PI of each marker is multiplied with each other to generate the Combined Paternity Index (CPI), which indicates the overall probability of an individual being the biological father of the tested child relative to a randomly selected man from the entire population of the same race. The CPI is then converted into a Probability of Paternity showing the degree of relatedness between the alleged father and child. The DNA test report in other family relationship tests, such as grandparentage and siblingship tests, is similar to a paternity test report. Instead of the Combined Paternity Index, a different value, such as a Siblingship Index, is reported. The report shows the genetic profiles of each tested person. If there are markers shared among the tested individuals, the probability of biological relationship is calculated to determine how likely the tested individuals share the same markers due to a blood relationship. Y-chromosome analysis: Recent innovations have included the creation of primers targeting polymorphic regions on the Y-chromosome (Y-STR), which allows resolution of a mixed DNA sample from a male and female or cases in which a differential extraction is not possible. Y-chromosomes are paternally inherited, so Y-STR analysis can help in the identification of paternally related males. Y-STR analysis was performed in the Jefferson-Hemings controversy to determine if Thomas Jefferson had sired a son with one of his slaves. The analysis of the Y-chromosome yields weaker results than autosomal chromosome analysis with regard to individual identification. The Y male sex-determining chromosome, as it is inherited only by males from their fathers, is almost identical along the paternal line. On the other hand, the Y-STR haplotype provides powerful genealogical information as a patrilinear relationship can be traced back over many generations. Furthermore, due to the paternal inheritance, Y-haplotypes provide information about the genetic ancestry of the male population. To investigate this population history, and to provide estimates for haplotype frequencies in criminal casework, the "Y haplotype reference database (YHRD)" has been created in 2000 as an online resource. It currently comprises more than 300,000 minimal (8 locus) haplotypes from world-wide populations. Mitochondrial analysis: For highly degraded samples, it is sometimes impossible to get a complete profile of the 13 CODIS STRs. In these situations, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is sometimes typed due to there being many copies of mtDNA in a cell, while there may only be 1–2 copies of the nuclear DNA. Forensic scientists amplify the HV1 and HV2 regions of the mtDNA, and then sequence each region and compare single-nucleotide differences to a reference. Because mtDNA is maternally inherited, directly linked maternal relatives can be used as match references, such as one's maternal grandmother's daughter's son. In general, a difference of two or more nucleotides is considered to be an exclusion. Heteroplasmy and poly-C differences may throw off straight sequence comparisons, so some expertise on the part of the analyst is required. mtDNA is useful in determining clear identities, such as those of missing people when a maternally linked relative can be found. mtDNA testing was used in determining that Anna Anderson was not the Russian princess she had claimed to be, Anastasia Romanov. mtDNA can be obtained from such material as hair shafts and old bones/teeth. Control mechanism based on interaction point with data. This can be determined by tooled placement in sample. Issues with forensic DNA samples: When people think of DNA analysis they often think about shows like NCIS or CSI, which portray DNA samples coming into a lab and then instantly analyzed, followed by pulling up a picture of the suspect within minutes⁠. The true reality, however, is quite different and perfect DNA samples are often not collected from the scene of a crime. Homicide victims are frequently left exposed to harsh conditions before they are found and objects used to commit crimes have often been handled by more than one person. The two most prevalent issues that forensic scientists encounter when analyzing DNA samples are degraded samples and DNA mixtures. Degraded DNA: In the real world DNA labs often have to deal with DNA samples that are less than ideal. DNA samples taken from crime scenes are often degraded, which means that the DNA has started to break down into smaller fragments. Victims of homicides might not be discovered right away, and in the case of a mass casualty event it could be hard to get DNA samples before the DNA has been exposed to degradation elements. Degradation or fragmentation of DNA at crime scenes can occur because of a number of reasons, with environmental exposure often being the most common cause. Biological samples that have been exposed to the environment can get degraded by water and enzymes called nucleases. Nucleases essentially ‘chew’ up the DNA into fragments over time and are found everywhere in nature. Before modern PCR methods existed it was almost impossible to analyze degraded DNA samples. Methods like restriction fragment length polymorphism or RFLP Restriction fragment length polymorphism, which was the first technique used for DNA analysis in forensic science, required high molecular weight DNA in the sample in order to get reliable data. High molecular weight DNA however is something that is lacking in degraded samples, as the DNA is too fragmented to accurately carry out RFLP. It wasn't until modern day PCR techniques were invented that analysis of degraded DNA samples were able to be carried out Polymerase chain reaction. Multiplex PCR in particular made it possible to isolate and amplify the small fragments of DNA still left in degraded samples. When multiplex PCR methods are compared to the older methods like RFLP a vast difference can be seen. Multiplex PCR can theoretically amplify less than 1 ng of DNA, while RFLP had to have a least 100 ng of DNA in order to carry out an analysis. In terms of a forensic approach to a degraded DNA sample, STR loci STR analysis are often amplified using PCR-based methods. Though STR loci are amplified with greater probability of success with degraded DNA, there is still the possibility that larger STR loci will fail to amplify, and therefore, would likely yield a partial profile, which results in reduced statistical weight of association in the event of a match. MiniSTR Analysis: In instances where DNA samples are degraded, like in the case of intense fires or if all that remains are bone fragments, standard STR testing on these samples can be inadequate. When standard STR testing is done on highly degraded samples the larger STR loci often drop out, and only partial DNA profiles are obtained. While partial DNA profiles can be a powerful tool, the random match probabilities will be larger than if a full profile was obtained. One method that has been developed in order to analyse degraded DNA samples is to use miniSTR technology. In this new approach, primers are specially designed to bind closer to the STR region. In normal STR testing the primers will bind to longer sequences that contain the STR region within the segment. MiniSTR analysis however will just target the STR location, and this results in a DNA product that is much smaller. By placing the primers closer to the actual STR regions, there is a higher chance that successful amplification of this region will occur. Successful amplification of these STR regions can now occur and more complete DNA profiles can be obtained. The success that smaller PCR products produce a higher success rate with highly degraded samples was first reported in 1995, when miniSTR technology was used to identify victims of the Waco fire. In this case the fire at destroyed the DNA samples so badly that normal STR testing did not result in a positive ID on some of the victims. DNA Mixtures: Mixtures are another common issue that forensic scientists face when they are analyzing unknown or questionable DNA samples. A mixture is defined as a DNA sample that contains two or more individual contributors. This can often occur when a DNA sample is swabbed from an item that is handled by more than one person or when a sample contains both the victim and assailants' DNA. The presence of more than one individual in a DNA sample can make it challenging to detect individual profiles, and interpretation of mixtures should only be done by highly trained individuals. Mixtures that contain two or three individuals can be interpreted, though it will be difficult. Mixtures that contain four or more individuals are much too convoluted to get individual profiles. One common scenario in which a mixture is often obtained is in the case of sexual assault. A sample may be collected that contains material from the victim, the victim's consensual sexual partners, and the perpetrator(s). As detection methods in DNA profiling advance, forensic scientists are seeing more DNA samples that contain mixtures, as even the smallest contributor is now able to be detected by modern tests. The ease in which forensic scientists have in interpenetrating DNA mixtures largely depends on the ratio of DNA present from each individual, the genotype combinations, and total amount of DNA amplified. The DNA ratio is often the most important aspect to look at in determining whether a mixture can be interpreted. For example, in the case where a DNA sample had two contributors, it would be easy to interpret individual profiles if the ratio of DNA contributed by one person was much higher than the second person. When a sample has three or more contributors, it becomes extremely difficult to determine individual profiles. Fortunately, advancements in probabilistic genotyping could make this sort of determination possible in the future. Probabilistic genotyping uses complex computer software to run through thousands of mathematical computations in order to produce statistical likelihoods of individual genotypes found in a mixture. Probabilistic genotyping software that are often used in labs today include STRmix and TrueAllele.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Disappearance of Alfred Beilhartz

Alfred Edwin Beilhartz was a young boy who vanished in 1938 at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Disappearance and search: He was on vacation with his family. They all went to Estes Park to fish. He was hiking with his parents on a trail that ran along a creek. He fell behind and vanished. After realizing he was no longer around, the family searched for him, but having no luck, they called in park rangers. Assuming he had drowned in the creek, searchers dammed it and dragged for his body, finding nothing. Searchers then concentrated on a land search. Bloodhounds were called in, but had little luck. The search was called off after ten days. Possible sightings: Hikers in a different part of the park saw a small boy on an elevation called Devils Nest on Mt. Chapin, while walking along Old Fall Road. They contacted the park, who sent climbers to search the clifftop, but found nothing. It included 150 men and members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was supposedly sighted walking along a road with a man in Nebraska. Aftermath: A bandage found in an abandoned cabin was also tested, since the child had a similar one when he vanished. A ransom note for $500 (equivalent to $9,082 in 2019) was sent to the parents after he had been missing for five months.Police determined it was a hoax. His father believed that Alfred was abducted but still alive.

Richard Wershe Jr.

Richard Wershe Jr. (born July 18, 1969), White Boy Rick, was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) informant while 14 to 16 years old. When he was 15 Wershe told the FBI that a major drug dealer had spoken of paying a bribe to Detroit detective inspector and subsequent city council president and mayoral candidate Gil Hill in order to quash the investigation into a 13 year old boy's murder. At the age of 17 Wershe was arrested for possession of cocaine and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2017 justice campaigners publicised Wershe's case and he was paroled, but directly to a prison in Florida to serve another five years for a behind-bars auto theft conviction from 2008. Campaigners for Wershe have suggested to reporters that the length of his incarceration may not have been completely unconnected to him having provided the FBI with information leading to the arrest of family members and associates of former Detroit mayor Coleman A. Young, as well as the allegation about Young's political ally Hill. In 2016 a notorious former Detroit hitman alleged Gil Hill had once tried to commission the murder of Wershe. Life: Wershe and his lower middle-class family lived in a neighborhood on the east side of Detroit about seven miles from downtown. They lived there during a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Detroit and many other major American cities were gaining widespread reputations for crime and violence, largely due to an influx of cocaine and the emergence of the crack cocaine epidemic. Wershe's father was also an FBI informant and first reported to the police and the federal agency alongside him before going solo. The name "White Boy Rick" was not a street name that Wershe used himself, nor was it one he was ever called by those with whom he associated. The name was instead given to him by reporters who covered his case. When Wershe was 16 the FBI, having secured 20 convictions through his infiltration of a violent drug gang, ceased to employ him as an informant. In 1987, at 17 years of age, Wershe was arrested for possessing cocaine in excess of eight kilograms (17.6 pounds). He was sentenced to life in prison in Michigan under the state's 650-Lifer Law, a drug statute that penalized those found in possession of more than 650 grams (22.92 oz) of cocaine or heroin with life imprisonment without parole. The law was overturned 15 years later, but he was repeatedly turned down by the Michigan parole board until publicity about his case in 2017, when w after spending nearly three decades behind bars in Michigan as a nonviolent drug offender whose offence was committed when he was 17, he was paroled to US Marshals who took him to begin serving five years in Florida State Prison on a 2008 car theft ring conviction In 2019, his application was denied by the Florida clemency board. He is scheduled for release on July 20, 2020. Film: A film based on his life, titled White Boy Rick, was released in September 14, 2018. The documentary chronicling the case of Richard Wershe Jr., White Boy, won the 2017 FREEP Film Festival Audience Choice Award. It was released in 2017 and began airing on the Starz network in 2019.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Forensic DNA analysis

DNA profiling is the determination of a DNA profile for legal and investigative purposes. DNA analysis methods have changed numerous times over the years as technology improves and allows for more information to be determined with less starting material. Modern DNA analysis is based on the statistical calculation of the rarity of the produced profile within a population. While most well known as a tool in forensic investigations, DNA profiling can also be used for non-forensic purposes. Paternity testing, and human genealogy research are just two of the non-forensic uses of DNA profiling. History: The methods for producing a DNA profile were developed by Alec Jeffreys and his team in 1984. Methods- Retired methods: RFLP analysis: The first true method of DNA profiling was restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. The first use of RFLP analysis in forensic casework was in 1985 in the United Kingdom. This type of analysis used variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) to distinguish between individuals. VNTRs are common throughout the genome and consist of the same DNA sequence repeated again and again. Different individuals can have a different number of repeats at a specific location in the genome. For example, person A could have four while person B could have 5 repeats. The differences were visualized through a process called gel electrophoresis. Smaller fragments would travel farther through the gel than larger fragments separating them out. These differences were used to distinguish between individuals and when multiple VNTR sites were run together, RFLP analysis has a high degree of individualizing power. The process of RFLP analysis was extremely time consuming and due to the length of the repeats used, between 9 and 100 base pairs, amplification methods such as the polymerase chain reaction could not be used. This limited RFLP to samples that already had a larger quantity of DNA available to start with and did not perform well with degraded samples. RFLP analysis was the primary type of analysis performed in most forensic laboratories before finally being retired and replaced by newer methods. It was fully abandoned by the FBI in 2000 and replaced with STR analysis. DQ alpha testing: Developed in 1991, DQ alpha testing was the first forensic DNA technique that utilized the polymerase chain reaction. This technique allowed for the use of far fewer cells than RFLP analysis making it more useful for crime scenes that did not have the large amounts of DNA material that was previously required. The DQ alpha 1 locus (or location) was also polymorphic and had multiple different alleles that could be used to limit the pool of individuals that could have produced that result and increasing the probability of exclusion. The DQ alpha locus was combined with other loci in a commercially available kit called Polymarker in 1993. Polymarker was a precursor to modern multiplexing kits and allowed multiple different loci to be examined with one product. While more sensitive than RFLP analysis, Polymarker did not contain the same discriminatory power as the older RFLP testing. By 1995, scientists attempted to return to a VNTR based analysis combined with PCR technology called amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AmpFLP). AmpFLP: AmpFLP was the first attempt to couple VNTR analysis with PCR for forensic casework. This method used shorter VNTRs than RFLP analysis, between 8 and 16 base pairs. The shorter base pair sizes of AmpFLP was designed to work better with the amplification process of PCR. It was hoped that this technique would allow for the discriminating power of RFLP analysis with the ability to process samples that have less template DNA to work with or which were otherwise degraded. However, only a few loci were validated for forensic applications to work with AmpFLP analysis as forensic labs quickly moved on to other techniques limited its discriminating ability for forensic samples. The technique was ultimately never widely used although it is still in use in smaller countries due to its lower cost and simpler setup compared to newer methods.[14][15] By the late 1990s, laboratories began switching over to newer methods including STR analysis. These used even shorter fragments of DNA and could more reliably be amplified using PCR while still maintaining, and improving, the discriminatory power of the older methods. Current methods- STR analysis: Short tandem repeat (STR) analysis is the primary type of forensic DNA analysis performed in modern DNA laboratories. STR analysis builds upon RFLP and AmpFLP used in the past by shrinking the size of the repeat units, to 2 to 6 base pairs, and by combining multiple different loci into one PCR reaction. These multiplexing assay kits can produce allele values for dozens of different loci throughout the genome simultaneously limiting the amount of time it takes to gain a full, individualizing, profile. STR analysis has become the gold standard for DNA profiling and is used extensively in forensic applications. STR analysis can also be restricted to just the Y chromosome. Y-STR analysis can be used in cases that involve paternity or in familial searching as the Y chromosome is identical down the paternal line (except in cases where a mutation occurred). Certain multiplexing kits combine both autosomal and Y-STR loci into one kit further reducing the amount of time it takes to obtain a large amount of data. mtDNA sequencing: Mitochondrial DNA sequencing is a specialized technique that uses the separate mitochondrial DNA present in most cells. This DNA is passed down the material line and is not unique between individuals. However, because of the number of mitochondria present in cells, mtDNA analysis can be used for highly degraded samples or samples where STR analysis would not produce enough data to be useful. mtDNA is also present in locations where autosomal DNA would be absent, such as in the shafts of hair. Because of the increased chance of contamination when dealing with mtDNA, few laboratories process mitochondrial samples. Those that do have specialized protocols in place that further separate different samples from each other to avoid cross-contamination. Rapid DNA: Rapid DNA is a "swab in-profile out" technology that completely automates the entire DNA extraction, amplification, and analysis process. Rapid DNA instruments are able to go from a swab to a DNA profile in as little as 90 minutes and eliminates the need for trained scientists to perform the process. These instruments are being looked at for use in the offender booking process allowing police officers to obtain the DNA profile of the person under arrest. Recently, the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 was passed in the United States, directing the FBI to create protocols for the implementation of this technology throughout the country. Currently, DNA obtained from these instruments is not eligible for upload to national DNA databases as they do not analyze enough loci to meet the standard threshold. However, multiple police agencies already use Rapid DNA instruments to collect samples from people arrested in their area. These local DNA database are not subject to federal or state regulations. Massively parallel sequencing: Also known as next-generation sequencing, massively parallel sequencing (MPS) builds upon STR analysis by introducing direct sequencing of the loci. Instead of the number of repeats present at each location, MPS would give the scientist the actual base pair sequence. Theoretically MPS has the ability to distinguish between identical twins as random point mutations would be seen within repeat segments that would not be picked up by traditional STR analysis. Profile rarity: When a DNA profile is used in an evidentiary manner a match statistic is provided that explains how rare a profile is within a population. Specifically, this statistic is the probability that a person picked randomly out of a population would have that specific DNA profile. It is not the probability that the profile "matches" someone. There are multiple different methods to determining this statistic and each are used by various laboratories based on their experience and preference. However, likelihood ratio calculations is becoming the preferred method over the other two most commonly used methods, random man not excluded and combined probability of inclusion. Match statistics are especially important in mixture interpretation where there is more than one contributor to a DNA profile. When these statistics are given in a courtroom setting or in a laboratory report they are usually given for the three most common races of that specific area. This is because the allele frequencies at different loci changed based on the individual's ancestry. Random man not excluded: The probability produced with this method is the probability that a person randomly selected out the population could not be excluded from the analyzed data. This type of match statistic is easy to explain in a courtroom setting to individuals who have no scientific background but it also loses a lot of discriminating power as it does not take into account the suspect's genotype. This approach is commonly used when the sample is degraded or contains so many contributors that a singular profile cannot be determined. It is also useful in explaining to laypersons as the method of obtaining the statistic is straightforward. However, due to its limited discriminating power, RMNE is not generally performed unless no other method can be used. RMNE is not recommended for use in data that indicates a mixture is present. Combined probability of inclusion/exclusion: Combined probability of inclusion or exclusion calculates the probability that a random, unrelated, person would be a contributor to a DNA profile or DNA mixture. In this method, statistics for each individual locus is determined using population statistics and then combined to get the total CPI or CPE. These calculations are repeated for all available loci with all available data and then each value is multiplied together to get the total combined probability of inclusion or exclusion. Since the values are multiplied together, extremely small numbers can be achieved using CPI. CPI or CPE is considered an acceptable statistical calculation when a mixture is indicated. Example calculation for single source profile: -Probability of a Caucasian having a 16 allele at vWA = .10204 -Probability of a Caucasian having a 17 allele at vWA = .26276 -Probability of a Caucasian having both a 14 and a 17 allele (P) = .10204 + .26276 = .3648 -Probability of all other alleles being present (Q) = 1 - P or 1 - .3648 = .6352 -Probability of exclusion for vWA = Q2 + 2Q(1-Q) or .63522 + 2(.6352)(1 - .6352) = .86692096 ≈ 86.69% -Probability of inclusion for vWA = 1 - CPE or 1 - .86692096 = .13307904 ≈ 13.31% Example calculation for mixture profile: -Probability of a Caucasian having a 14 allele at vWA = .10204 -Probability of a Caucasian having a 15 allele at vWA = .11224 -Probability of a Caucasian having a 16 allele at vWA = .20153 -Probability of a Caucasian having a 19 allele at vWA = .08418 -Probability of a Caucasian having a 14, 15, 16, or 19 allele (P) = .10204 + .11224 + .20153 + .08418 = .49999 -Probability of all other alleles being present (Q) = 1 - P or 1 - .49999 = .50001 -Probability of exclusion for vWA = Q2 + 2Q(1-Q) or .500012 + 2(.50001)(1 - .50001) = .7500099999 ≈ 75% -Probability of inclusion for vWA = 1 - CPE or 1 - .7500099999 = .2499900001 ≈ 25% Likelihood ratio: Likelihood ratios (LR) are a comparison of two different probabilities to determine which one is more likely. When it involves a trial the LR is the probability of the prosecution's argument versus the probability of the defense's argument given their starting assumptions. In this scenario the prosecution's probability is often equal to 1 since the assumption is that the prosecution would not prosecute a suspect unless they were absolutely certain (100%) that they have the right person. Likelihood ratios are becoming more common in laboratories due to their usefulness in presenting statistics for data that indicates multiple contributors as well as their use in probabilistic genotyping software that predicts the most likely allele combinations given a set of data. The drawbacks with using likelihood ratios is that they are very difficult to understand how analysts arrived at a specific value and the mathematics involved get very complicated as more data is introduced to the equations. In order to combat these problems in a courtroom setting, some laboratories have set up a "verbal scale" that replaces the actual numeral value of the likelihood ratio.