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ON THE COVER: Traditional methods of identifying decedents—such as inked prints, dental charting, and radiographic images—are used a majority of the time... But photography offers an alternative method as a means for scientific identification. See full article here.

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3D Laser Scanning: The Future Has Arrived

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For years, prosecutors and law enforcement have fought the “CSI effect”—that is, jurors’ disappointment (and suspicion) if they do not find high-tech graphics and whiz-bang evidence presented in the courtroom. With expectations raised so high by forensics on television, jurors often assume better evidence must be readily available.

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Battling Child Exploitation with Digital Forensics

According to estimates by the federal government, the number of child sexual exploitation cases is on the rise—with a 1,000-percent increase in child sexual trafficking cases reported since 2004. Moreover, the Center for Missing & Exploited Children reports that one in six runaways in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims.

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NIST Corner: OSAC Gaining Momentum in Forensic Science Standards Development

NIST’s Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) has come a long way since its first board members were appointed nearly a year ago. OSAC, initiated in early 2014 to coordinate the development of uniform forensic science standards and guidelines, is already at work on high-priority needs.

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“Fingerprinting” with Photography

As technology continues to evolve, the standards used by most medical examiner’s or coroner’s offices to establish positive identity of decedents has been concurrently reshaped. With an increase in the use of biometrics, a scientific method of identity has become more common rather than relying on circumstantial variables. Traditional methods of identification—such as inked prints, dental charting, and radiographic images—are used a majority of the time. Although these are most often considered the quickest and easiest sources to use, these methods are not always possible to obtain in a timely manner.

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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)

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