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Luisa Florez’s latest blog post.


from 日テレNEWS24


Forensic Science May Have Uncovered Jack the Ripper

Luisa Florez’s latest blog post.


Jack the Ripper remains, to this day, one of the most perplexing cold cases. Many conspiracy theorists have dedicated hours, months and years towards attempting to solve this century old case. Many theories have emerged over the years, and many have often thought they had definitively figured out who exactly Jack the Ripper may have been. However, a new theory always emerges, questioning the validity of the previous establishment.

According to an article recently completed by Kinja Gizmodo, a partnership between a businessman and a forensic science has afforded yet another possible answer for who could have been Jack the Ripper. With the increase in the ability of science, it is not surprising that a forensic scientist could possibly be the one to definitively answer the question of the man behind the misnomer of Jack the Ripper.

However, the discovery would not have been possible without Russell Edwards, the businessman component of the duo. He acquired a shawl that was said to be owned by Catherine Eddowes, one of the unfortunate victims of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. In 2011, Edwards sought out Jari Louhelainen, an expert in the field of forensic analysis. From there, Louhelainen had to sequence the DNA he could find on the shawl. In the process, he was able to map the DNA by determining the exact order of the bases in the strand provided by the material. Using the polymerase chain reaction technique, Louhelainen was allowed to make millions of exact copies of the DNA—more than enough to complete the necessary sequencing needed to identify his Jack the Ripper suspect. The genome amplification technique allowed Louhelainen to discover several key aspects of his suspect’s ethnic and geographic origins, including the color of his hair. The results indicated that the suspect needed to be of Russian Jewish ethnicity with dark hair.

These facts were used to narrow down lists of previous suspects. From there, Edwards and Louhelainen were able to track down the most feasible option, take a swab of DNA and compare it to the evidence Jack the Ripper left behind on the shawl. Edwards and Louhelainen found a match in Aaron Kosminski. At the time, he was a twenty-three year old polish barber who lived in close proximity of all the murders. Louhelainen believes these findings are reliable, beyond a shade of reasonable doubt. However, the article notes the timing of the release, which corresponds with Louhelainen’s release of a book on catching Jack the Ripper, and suspects it may just be an exaggerated PR stunt.

from Luisa Florez Medical Examiner


Forensic Science Works to Disprove the Fiction

With shows such as Bones and CSI running rampant, audiences can often reach misconceptions on the perception of forensic science and the means and tools with which it reaches its ends. As a result, many labs opened their doors for the National Forensic Science Week, in the hopes of disproving some of these conclusions drawn based in fiction. Among the labs to participate was the Utah State Crime Lab at the Calvin Rampton Complex, according to an article recently completed by Deseret News.


The Utah State Crime Lab is unique, in that it is the only full service and accredited crime lab in the state of Utah, according to Jay Henry, director of the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services Laboratory System. As a result, they see a bulk of the forensic cases that pass through the state, certainly far more than the scientists on CSI seem to work through. The lab has seventy employees, forty of whom are forensic scientists, and thirty serve as support and administration staff. These employees are kept busy, as various cases pass through their doors—processing evidence through the use of sexual assault kits, DNA, trace evidence, latent fingerprints and firearms. The lab sees over four thousand cases per year, in a variety of crimes, such as drugs, shootings, rape and homicide.

Specifically, the number of DNA cases from 2008 to 2012 has doubled. While pervious methods did not allow for forensic scientists to proceed working on cases that didn’t afford biological fluids, new tools and techniques allow the scientists to press forward, resulting in more evidence, better databases and an increased caseload.

As a direct result of the increase in work, plans for the construction of a second lab have been started. This new lab would be a state of the art facility, built specifically for the duties and demands of forensic scientists. The current building is merely an adaptation, which has motivated the administration to seek a specialized building for their needs. The department plans to ask Legislation for thirty nine million dollars to build the building; land will not need to be purchased, as the lab already owns the land next to their current locale.