Category Archives: News

DNA solved cold case

In February 1968 Anita Louise Piteau wrote a letter to her family saying she had visited Hollywood and taken a tour of stars’ homes. In her letter, she wrote about her plan to return to the East Coast in May. This was the last time when her family heard from her.

Her family and relatives spent the next 52 years searching for her.

At the last, Investigators in Orange County, California finally solved the mystery of what had happened to Ms. Piteau.

Photo Credit: Orange County District Attorney’s Office

Using DNA evidence that had been preserved for decades, investigators determined that her body had been left in a field in Huntington Beach, Calif., after she was sexually assaulted and killed in 1968, when she was 26.

The case dates to March 14, 1968, when three young boys playing in a large farm field in Huntington Beach found the body of a woman. She had been sexually assaulted and severely beaten, and her neck was slashed.

The police officers who responded to the scene carefully preserved evidence from the field, including a smoked cigarette butt found near the victim’s body, the district attorney’s office said. The police worked hard but couldn’t identify the victim or her killer, and the case went cold.

Then, in 2001, investigators extracted DNA from the victim’s clothing and the sexual assault kit and developed a profile for an unknown male killer. Nearly 10 years later, a partial DNA profile that was taken from the cigarette butt matched the DNA from the assault kit. But still, investigators could not find a suspect.

In 2011, blood from the victim’s blouse yielded a partial DNA profile, which was entered into a missing persons database. The victim’s fingerprints were also entered into state and F.B.I. databases. But investigators could not generate leads to identify the victim.

The mystery began to unravel when investigators turned to genetic genealogy, in which DNA samples are used to find relatives of suspects and eventually the suspects themselves.

Investigators developed a family tree for the suspect that helped them identify him as Mr. Chrisco, who was not one of the initial suspects in the killing, according to the district attorney’s office.

Police on July 22, 2020 said, she was killed by a man named Johnny Chrisco, who died at age 71 in 2015.

Mr. Chrisco had been discharged from the Army in 1963 after he was diagnosed with “positive aggressive reaction,” which was defined as anger management issues, easy to feel ill treated, immature and impulsive, the district attorney’s office said. He had a long arrest record. According to the district attorney’s office, He died of cancer in 2015 and was buried in Washington State.

Earlier this year, detectives, prosecutors and forensic scientists began working on a possible family tree of the victim. With the help of Colleen Fitzpatrick genetic genealogist, investigators identified Ms. Piteau through DNA matches with her siblings.

Finally, family get informed about her daughter.

“There was no justice, but it was closure,”  Steve Sabo (family member) said. “Now the family had an answer to why she disappeared.”

Forensic Method solves Stone Age murder mystery after 33,000 years

Paleolithic Skull
(Image: © Kranioti, EF. et al. PLOS ONE. 2019.)

The Cioclovina skull has two large fractures on it, likely from interpersonal violence during the Upper Paleolithic.

Researchers have used forensic science to crack one of the oldest cold cases in history – the murder of an early modern human who lived in Europe more than 30,000 years ago.

The skull of Cioclovina man has been very mysterious. It was discovered during the second world war, in 1941, by miners searching for phosphate in a cave in Transylvania, Romania. Dated at 33,0000 years old, Cioclovina is one of the oldest, relatively complete skulls so far found of an early modern human living in Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic period.

The scientists who first studied this skull made no mention of two extensive fractures on its right side. After that discovery Researchers have debated about the cause of the fractures:

✅ Were they from the any type of explosions?

✅ Were they caused because of mishandling the specimen?

✅ Did the cave collapse on Cioclovina man and kill him? 

✅ Was he murdered?

Forensic scientist Elena Kranioti at the University of Crete and her colleagues decided to apply modern forensic techniques to Solve this puzzle.

➖ Use of CT Scan

Using CT scans, they discovered that there were no signs of healing around the fractures, ruling out the possibility that Cioclovina man had been injured and then recovered.

➖ When the fracture have been occurred?

The second step was to looked for signs of when the bones were broken. Kranioti knew that if the skull was damaged long after Cioclovina man had died, the fractures would be in random patterns and be square-shaped with sharp edges, because old and dry bone breaks differently from ‘living’ bone.

Finally they found that the damage happened around the time of death.

➖ Final Deduction

They deducted that the fracture lines migrated towards the structurally weaker areas of the skull, and bone flakes flecked inward – indicating the injury occurred while there was still soft brain tissue in the skull.

➖ How the skull have been fractured?

Then, after determine the time of fracture, their next step was to determine whether Cioclovina man’s fractures were caused by a fall, being hit on the head with a rock, or perhaps something else.

➖ Study of Pattern of Fracture

The pattern of the fractures gave Kranioti and her team some clues. One fairly straight fracture stretched across the skull, while the other more circular fracture pushed fragments inward into the brain. Today, these circular, depressed fractures are typical of attacks with baseball bats, says Kranioti.

While the fractures from the circular blow radiated outwards, they stopped when they met the straight line, meaning the straight-line fracture came first.

“The distinctive [circular] depressed fracture found on the right side of the skull is unquestionably evidence that the person was struck with a blunt object, which directly implies a human agent,” says Kranioti.

➖ Face-to-face

Fragments of bone flecked backwards into the skull, indicating Cioclovina man was facing his attacker head-on. This is further evidence against the theory that he was killed from falling cave roof debris, the authors say.

➖ Scene Reconstruction

The team then experimentally recreated the blow using artificial skulls filled with ballistic gelatin. They tested several scenarios, including falls, blows with a rock, and blows with a baseball bat to different locations. The fracture patterns found on Cioclovina man’s skull strongly resembled what happened when the artificial skulls were hit twice with a round, club-like object while against the ground.

“The linear fracture happened first and could have been either a result of a person falling from their own height – while running from someone, for example – or a result of a strike while kneeling or being on the ground,” says Kranioti.

The second fracture is clearly a result of violence, she says.

“Which means that, in modern terms, if I had to define the cause and matter of death as a forensic pathologist I would say that the person died of craniocerebral injuries (as the brain would also have been damaged from the blows) and that it was homicide.”

➖ Fatal Wounds

Kranioti says that without the rest of the body there is no way to know if the victim had already received fatal wounds elsewhere before this attack.

But the extent and location of the cranial fractures suggest that the person died shortly after he received the head injuries, she says.

Stanley Serafin at the University of New South Wales, Australia, says the authors present a “thoroughly convincing case”.

“This is solid evidence of interpersonal violence and violent death over 30,000 years ago among the earliest modern humans in Europe,” he says.

Who murdered him?

“Who is the murderer”, is still a question. Given the timing, it raises questions about whether this violence was committed by someone of the same species, or whether it was perhaps caused by these modern humans migrating into areas where Neanderthals may have still lived, says Serafin.

Corona Virus (COVID19)

What is Corona Virus?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.

The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.

How it Spreads?

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Follow the guidance outlined above.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
(Information source is https://www.who.int/)

—-Stay Safe, Keep Safe—-

Forensic Geology And The Unsolved Murder Mystery of Italian Politician AldoMoro.

BY COURTESY OF WWW.FORBES.COM

Case History :-

March 16, 1978, on a street of Rome five bodyguards were gunned down and Italian prime minister Aldo Moro kidnapped. Some days later the first messages from the Brigate Rosse, a terrorist organization active at the time in Italy, was sent to the authorities. The Italian government was unsure how to deal with the demands. The Italian state refused to negotiate with terrorists, but Moro was a popular politician and the Italian people demanded actions to save his life. Time passed, messages were exchanged, but nothing happened. On the morning of May 8, an anonymous telephone call informed the authorities of a car parked car in the center of Rome. Inside the car, the police found Aldo Moro, killed with a series of gunshots. Investigators immediately started to collect evidence. During the autopsy, small traces of sand were found on Moro’s trousers. Traces of geological material were also collected from the shoes and inside the car.

Questions Arises Before Forensic Experts :-

Forensic geologists had to answer two important questions.
Could the geological evidence be tracked back to the site, where Moro was killed or his body dumped into the car?
▪Could the geological evidence say when this happened?

Expert’s Findings :-

The grain-shape and size distribution can help to identify the environment where the sand was deposited. All the sand, from Moro’s clothing as from the interior of the car, was identical, suggesting that the body was dumped into the car where Moro was killed. It was clean sand, without mineralogical impurities, of uniform grain-size and very well sorted. Such sand forms only along a modern beach. There the grains are smoothed, rounded and sorted by the constant motion of waves. This interpretation was supported also by the presence of marine shells and microfossils in the samples. The evidence suggested that Moro was killed on a beach near Rome. The microfossils were later identified as species belonging into the Miocene, eroded from rocky outcrops not found along the sea, but transported by a river to the sea. This was an important discovery, as it suggested that “the supposed site of the crime was located near the delta of the river Tiber”, the only river where outcrops of Miocene rocks are found. Also, some grains of igneous rocks, recovered from Moro’s shoes, supported this idea. The city of Rome is surrounded by hills of volcanic origin and only the Tiber can transport grains of igneous rocks to the sea. Sampling showed that sand from a seven miles long segment of the beach, located north of the delta of the Tiber, matched the sand found on Moro’s corpse and inside the car.

Contradiction In Terms ::

But there was a problem. Traces of asphalt were found on the tires of the car, suggesting that the car only moved on roads, never on the sand of a beach. However, a more careful analysis revealed that the asphalt was of very poor quality. It was unrefined bitumen, derived from the pollution of a nearby oil-tanker terminal, washed ashore and mixed into the sand. Traces of this kind of bitumen were found also inside the car. Moro’s kidnappers walked on the contaminated sand not long before the car was found, as the bitumen was still fresh. This last observation suggested that Moro was killed just before the discovery of the body. A more close investigation showed that on the shoes, below the layer of beach sand, there was also a layer of volcanic soil. Applying the principle of sedimentary superposition, as the layer of the volcanic soil is covered by the layer of sand it must be older, the forensic geologists suggested a possible scenario for Moro’s last days. Moro was imprisoned, before being relocated to the beach, somewhere inland, maybe south-east of Rome where on easily erodible volcanic rocks clay-rich soils formed over time. Only years later the investigators found an apartment, in the south-eastern suburbs of Rome, where Moro probably was imprisoned for some time.

Various suspected murderers were arrested during a raid against the Brigate Rosse. Based on the confessions of the suspects the crime was reconstructed as follows ::

The bodyguards were killed by a commando, hiding along the street where another terrorist blocked Moro’s car. Moro was then “kidnapped and held captive for fifty-five days in the anonymous apartment near Rome”, where he was finally forced into the trunk of the car and killed. The car was then parked in the center of Rome and one of the kidnappers called the police. But this confession doesn’t fit with all the geological evidence recovered.

As stated by Kidnappers :-

According to the kidnappers, Moro was never near the beach, like the samples of sand suggested.
“The kidnappers claim to have tried to mislead the investigators by pouring water and sand onto the victim and into the car. “

Experts Opinion on Kidnappers Statement :-

However, experts don’t believe that it is possible to fake all the traces found in the car and on Moro’s corpse this way. More important, why such efforts to create evidence most people wouldn’t even realize is there?”
Forensic geologists doubt that the killers at the time would have been aware of grains of sand as possible evidence for a crime. The supposed site of Moro’s imprisonment along the beach was never found.

Some Questions Remained Unanswered………………