PUBLICATION DAY! Silent Little Angels, Detective Katie Scott Thriller, Book 7 is Here!

SILENT LITTLE ANGLES publication day has finally arrived! Cold Case Detective Katie Scott and her K9 Cisco are back and this time it’s personal.

GRAB YOUR COPY NOW

***

The water ripples as the girl’s body escapes the reeds and floats silently upwards. Her beautiful face—blue eyes frozen open, skin as white as snow—breaks the surface. But it’s too late, this innocent soul has taken her final breath…

When camp counselor Carolyn Sable’s body is found floating in a lake beside Eagle Ridge Summer Camp,Detective Katie Scott must dig deep to stay focused. As a child, Katie spent many happy weeks at that camp toasting marshmallows on the fire with her best friend Jenny… until the day Jenny disappeared. The loss will always haunt Katie, but Carolyn’s inconsolable family need answers.

Searching the area, the devastating discovery of two more bodies sends the case into a tailspin. Suddenly on the hunt for a serial killer, Katie’s blood turns to ice when she finds newspaper clippings about her own past cases planted near one of the bodies. Was this twisted killer banking on Katie taking the lead? And why?

Carolyn was adored by children and staff at the camp, so Katie thinks her sudden resignation is key to cracking the case. Uncovering a tragic accident involving a group of children in the weeks before Carolyn left, Katie knows she’s getting close.

But when the carefully laid trap Katie sets to catch Carolyn’s killer backfires, Katie finds herself in unthinkable danger and unable to even trust her own team. Can she stay alive long enough to crack the toughest case of her career, and how many more innocent lives will be lost before she does?

An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller from a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author. Fans of of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh will be sleeping with the lights on!

GRAB YOUR COPY NOW

Everyone is talking about SILENT LITTLE ANGELS:
 

“All-time favorite… I was shouting in my head, don’t go back there… wow!” I Spooky’s Maze Of Books, 5 stars

“THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breath… I HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending: WOW definitely not what, or who I was expecting.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“It kept me guessing right until the end. There is plenty of action, suspense, and tension. I’ve become so invested in these characters. I was glued to this one and up way past my bedtime. I couldn’t put it down.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“I read this in one very short sitting, I couldn’t put it down. It was well written with well-developed characters and a gripping storyline that was full of mystery, tension and twists… a thrilling read.” NetGalley reviewer 5 stars

“I still have goosebumps!Omg……… amazing I flew through the pages with Olympic speed. I was hooked from the veryfirst page.” NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

Katie and K9 Cisco are back to solve the next cold case!

GET YOUR EBOOK, PAPERBACK, OR AUDIO COPY HERE!

AUTHOR JENNIFER CHASE AMAZON BOOK PAGE

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9 Strategic Steps for a Successful Crime Scene Investigation

To perform a successful crime scene investigation, there are a myriad of individual procedures used by investigators. And, of course, different crimes call for specific methods. Despite, however, the various tactics and circumstances, individual investigators generally utilize the following nine universal steps in order to conduct a fruitful and efficient crime scene investigation.

Establish Scene Dimensions / Identify Potential Hazards

An investigator must initially locate the main area of the disturbance, i.e. the focal point of the crime. This  could be a ransacked living room, a traffic intersection where a collision occurred or a remote part of nature where a murder took place. Once the focal point has been ascertained, the investigator creates a radius of the area, in which all the immediate, relevant physical evidence may be present.

It benefits the investigator to create a relatively large radius, due to the fact that it is much easier to later condense the crime scene than enlarge it. It would be detrimental to the investigation if the area was too small, and crucial evidence (outside of the area) was compromised by onlookers or the media.

In addition to establishing the focal point’s radius, the investigator must identify the potential areas of ingress and egress of the criminal. The safety of all people in the area must also be taken into consideration. Therefore, any sort of hazardous materials, weapons or intentional traps must be identified.

Secure the Perimeter

Every single person who enters and exits the crime scene will “add or subtract” crucial material from the crime scene. Thus, it is vital that the lead investigator secure the area as quickly as possible.

In order to control access, the scene is generally cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape or other methods, such as rope or cones.  Further,  an entrance is established for all personnel to use when entering and exiting the scene. Once the common entryway has been created, all people who enter and leave the area must be documented. For larger and more complex crime scenes, additional consultation and evidence storage areas may be created.

Organize and Communicate

Prior to the collection of evidence, the crime scene investigators must develop a theory concerning what exactly transpired at the scene. Once the team has a working knowledge of what type of crime occurred, the investigators will be more prepared to anticipate what kind of evidence may be present.

A method for developing the crime theory is to interview witnesses, or persons of interest. Once the investigators have obtained sufficient information, the team will develop their strategy for collecting evidence.

Perform Initial Survey of Scene

A preliminary crime scene survey is performed in an effort to prioritize the collection of evidence. While conducting the scene walkthrough, the lead investigator will identify and take photos of important evidence.

Investigators will also document certain aspects of the crime scene, so that the scene conditions are properly captured. For example, the investigators will note weather conditions, the exact position of items such as furniture, the presence of any smells and whether the lights were on or off.

Process the Scene

After the plan has been established and the initial survey has been performed, the crime scene investigators conduct a diligent, thorough and coordinated investigation of the scene. At that time, the team will collect all probative evidence. The collection of evidence includes the proper digital documentation of the scene and evidence, which also may include 3D scanners, diagrams, models and sketches.

While the collection of evidence is being conducted, it is vital that all investigators follow strict protocol in the collection, packaging and preservation of the evidence. If the integrity of any of the evidence is compromised, it could hinder the investigation and eventual prosecution.

Conduct Second Walkthrough

For quality control purposes, a secondary walkthrough is conducted by the lead investigator so as to ensure that the entire crime scene has been thoroughly searched.

Preserve and Record Evidence

In order to ensure that all collected evidence has been documented, the investigation team will create an inventory log. Each piece of evidence is described in the log, and such description must match the photo of the evidence and the crime scene report description.

The evidence log and crime scene report establishes the chain of custody, which will follow the evidence throughout the duration of the case.

Perform Final Survey

The final survey allows the investigators to conduct a critical review of all aspects of the crime scene investigation. Each team member participates in the final survey to ensure that no inadvertent errors are found in the documentation, and that the paper trail is thorough, accurate and complete.

One last search of the area is performed to ensure evidence was not overlooked in hidden or hard to access sections of the crime scene.

Release Crime Scene

Once the final survey has been completed, the lead investigator or other authorized persons may release the crime scene. Oftentimes, in order to gain re-entry to a released crime scene, a warrant is required.

I thoroughly enjoy the topic of crime scene analysis and investigation. I hope you found this article both informative and interesting. And, most importantly, I hope you learned something about the fascinating world of criminal science.

***

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DETECTIVE KATIE SCOTT SERIES:

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending: WOW definitely not what, or who I was expecting.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Fantastic… had me glued to the pages and I didn’t want to put it down so gripping and suspenseful and wonderfully paced… A brilliant, nail-biting and highly recommended read.” Brianne’s Book Reviews, 5 stars

I was hooked from the start. I couldn’t stop reading. I just needed to find out what happens. Katie is a total badassI loved the story sooo much awesome…I recommend it to everyone.” Mama Bear’s Book Shelf, 5 stars

One hell of an unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way… I almost had to read through my fingers… A brilliant, and highly recommended read.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I envy you the binge read!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“An excellent, exhilarating read. I had to keep reading just another page, another page, as everything raced towards a high tension ending.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A twist at every page!Absolutely loved this book… so engrossed, read it in 2 days… well-written and enthralling. Couldn’t put it down.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Brilliant! Brilliant! Absolutely freaking brilliant!!Shalini’s Books & Reviews, 5 stars

SILENT LITTLE ANGELS (Detective Katie Scott Book 7)

Pre order here: http://ow.ly/erw950HsCfZ

Out April 19th!

***

AUTHOR JENNIFER CHASE AMAZON BOOK PAGE

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PRE ORDER and COVER REVEAL: Silent Little Angels, Detective Katie Scott Book 7

I really excited to announce that the 7th installment of the Detective Katie Scott book is NOW available for pre-order! Check out SILENT LITTLE ANGELS.

This story was a ton of fun for me. I wanted to incorporate more of K9 Cisco and some special searches. You can expect to read more grisly crime scenes, great forensics, and of course our tough heroine and her partner. What predicaments are they going to get themselves into?

SYNOPSIS:

The water ripples as the girl’s body escapes the reeds and floats silently upwards. Her beautiful face—blue eyes frozen open, skin as white as snow—breaks the surface. But it’s too late, this innocent soul has taken her final breath…

When camp counselor Carolyn Sable’s body is found floating in a lake beside Eagle Ridge Summer Camp, Detective Katie Scott must dig deep to stay focused. As a child, Katie spent many happy weeks at that camp toasting marshmallows on the fire with her best friend Jenny… until the day Jenny disappeared. The loss will always haunt Katie, but Carolyn’s inconsolable family need answers.

Searching the area, the devastating discovery of two more bodies sends the case into a tailspin. Suddenly on the hunt for a serial killer, Katie’s blood turns to ice when she finds newspaper clippings about her own past cases planted near one of the bodies. Was this twisted killer banking on Katie taking the lead? And why?

Carolyn was adored by children and staff at the camp, so Katie thinks her sudden resignation is key to cracking the case. Uncovering a tragic accident involving a group of children the weeks before Carolyn left, Katie knows she’s getting close.

But when the carefully laid trap Katie sets to catch Carolyn’s killer backfires, Katie finds herself in unthinkable danger and unable to even trust her own team. Can she stay alive long enough to crack the toughest case of her career, and how many more innocent lives will be lost before she does?

*

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DETECTIVE KATIE SCOTT SERIES:

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending: WOW definitely not what, or who I was expecting.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Fantastic… had me glued to the pages and I didn’t want to put it down so gripping and suspenseful and wonderfully paced… A brilliant, nail-biting and highly recommended read.” Brianne’s Book Reviews, 5 stars

I was hooked from the start. I couldn’t stop reading. I just needed to find out what happens. Katie is a total badassI loved the story sooo much awesome…I recommend it to everyone.” Mama Bear’s Book Shelf, 5 stars

One hell of an unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way… I almost had to read through my fingers… A brilliant, and highly recommended read.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I envy you the binge read!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

“An excellent, exhilarating read. I had to keep reading just another page, another page, as everything raced towards a high tension ending.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A twist at every page!Absolutely loved this book… so engrossed, read it in 2 days… well-written and enthralling. Couldn’t put it down.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Brilliant! Brilliant! Absolutely freaking brilliant!!Shalini’s Books & Reviews, 5 stars

SILENT LITTLE ANGELS (Detective Katie Scott Book 7)

Pre order here: http://ow.ly/erw950HsCfZ

Out April 19th!

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Writing Inspiration for Crime Fiction: So This Happened on a 1600 mile Journey

Many of you don’t know that I moved from California to Texas last year. Yep, I’m in Texas now with summer heat and scary tornadoes. Remember, it’s a big wide open world out there to stay in one place forever. It’s been interesting and enlightening to say the least. People are kind and you just can’t beat that Texas hospitality. There were many reasons for my relocation, but I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll let you fill in the blanks. It’s just a stopping point, like the next chapter, until I figure out where my next homestead will be in the future.

So imagine this, buying a home, packing up my entire life, and then comes the dreaded “lockdown”. So what’s next? The ink on our contract wasn’t dry and we hadn’t left California yet. If you would like to have seen a major scramble dance—that was me and my husband.  Rental trucks were backed up. Motels and hotels were sketchy and sparse unless you were considered “essential”. I wanted to sit down and cry, or punch somebody, but that fighting spirit in me dusted myself off and forged ahead.

It took us almost another two months before we hit the open road and headed for the barn—so to speak. We drove—my husband behind the wheel of the largest moving truck we could rent and me in my car with a dog and two cats. We could only drive so many miles a day, so we were forced to stop at motels that would take us—since we were moving and could prove that our new location was in Texas. We ate our meals at large gas stations that had snacks and some fast food—since restaurants were closed. Did I mention that I had two cats and my German shepherd? That was fun. Insert sarcasm here.

The closest description I can relate to you was that we were headed into the great unknown with everything that was going on in the world. You know what I mean. So we stopped at our first motel. It was large but there were only a few other people staying there in the health and construction industries.

Once we arrived and checked into our room—completely exhausted and with two very indignant cats after about 600 miles of road. I took my German shepherd, Odin, out and we went for a nice walk. I stretched my legs and cleared my head, basically thinking about the book I was in the middle of writing—and of course new storylines. I’m always thinking about storylines and bad guys.

This particular motel was quite large, so I walked the grounds and down the outdoor hallways. When… a young man appeared from another building that was supposed to be vacant. He stumbled toward us bleeding and said that someone had stabbed him. Blood was gushing from his arm. Keep in mind Odin is a bred military grade type of dog, so he wasn’t particularly happy about this situation. I glanced around to make sure that there wasn’t a psycho running from a room wielding a bloody butcher knife. Then I instructed the young man sit down and apply pressure on his arm. It was nasty as he had left a trail of blood. By this time, the manager came out and said he had called the police (due to security cameras), but when he saw the blood up close, he became woozy. So I told him to sit down and catch his breath. So now, if you can imagine it, I have a bleeding man and a fainting motel manager in front of me while I waited for the police and ambulance to arrive.

People ask me all the time where I get my ideas and inspiration. And I answer, everywhere. It can be from a news headline, but it’s also from everyday things. It can be something on a walk or when you’re shopping at the grocery store. Inspiration is everywhere!

So back to the bleeding guy and the woozy motel manager… I was calm partly due to the fact that my dog kept a watchful eye for any other movement—he always has my back. The police showed up with three cruisers, then the fire truck, then an ambulance, and finally they had a CSI van. My little walk turned into a full-blown investigation unfolding in front of me. I have to say that the CSI vehicle was one of the most awesome ones I had ever seen. I hung around a bit. It was funny that the police officers asked me if I had been a cop or in the military. Wow. I was stunned. I politely told them that I was a crime fiction author—basically, I just make up stories. And everyone laughed. I’m still not quite sure if they really believed me or not.

It turned out that the bleeding guy had broken into one of the rooms with two undisclosed people (one woman and one man) and a fight broke out—and I’m sure that you can probably fill in the blanks. So, to make a long story short, I ran into some inspiration that day and you never know where you’re going to find it. I can’t wait for my journey around Texas checking out small towns and ghost towns—you never know what I’ll run into.

*

PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS

Detective Katie Scott Thriller

Book 6

Available now at:

Amazon: http://ow.ly/aa8250FeIqN

Apple: http://ow.ly/M82450FeIqQ

Kobo: http://ow.ly/lGBl50FeIqP

Google: http://ow.ly/J52U50FeIqO

AUTHOR JENNIFER CHASE AMAZON BOOK PAGE

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Thanksgiving Forensics: 2 Killers Brought to Justice #crimefiction #series #forensics

Thanksgiving is the time of the year when many of us show our gratitude for life’s blessings. For some people, however, this holiday is just another reminder of a horrific memory that never relents. And that haunting recollection is the unsolved murder of a loved one.

But, despite all of the pain and horror that has consumed their lives for many years – there is always a glimmer of hope that the killer will be brought to justice.

Through the combined efforts of dedicated law enforcement personnel and the marvels of modern forensic science, these cold case murders are now finally solved.

The Sock that Solved a Murder

In a wooded area on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the body of Denise Kulb was found on November 12, 1991. It had been nearly a month since Denise went missing, and her family members had already feared the worst.

When her body was discovered, Denise was wearing only a sweater. But, in addition, someone had placed a pile of her own clothes on top of Denise’s body. The clothing pile included two pairs of pants, a T-shirt, a jacket and importantly – one yellow sock.

Denise had a history of drug abuse, prostitution and other legal problems, including losing two of her children to foster care. But, many in her family saw a noticeable improvement in her life after she moved in with her boyfriend, Theodore Dill Donahue.

But her positive life change was fleeting. In fact, she moved out of the apartment within a few weeks. And Denise began to work the streets again. On the night of her disappearance, she was last seen arguing outside a bar with Donahue.

Of course, after she went missing, the boyfriend became a prime suspect. Donahue relied on Denise’s checkered past as a way to discredit her and bolster his claim that a “John” must have killed her.

Despite investigators’ gut feelings that he was the killer, the evidence against Donahue was weak, so they were unable to arrest him. But, the police never gave up on the suspect, who proudly (and strangely) told people that his nickname was “Ted Bundy.” (Oddly, his email address was also Bundy’s name.)

The case went dormant until around 2015, and that is when the yellow sock became a crucial piece of evidence. Weirdly, as mentioned above – Denise’s body was discovered with one yellow sock lying on top of her.

Police, eventually though, discovered the “other” yellow sock in Donahue’s apartment. Utilizing the power of forensic photography experts, the police were able to definitively confirm that the sock found on top of Denise’s body was an exact match to the one found in Donahue’s apartment.

After confirming that the socks were a match, investigators looked into the many inconsistencies of Donahue’s ever-evolving statements of what occurred in and around the time of the murder.  All of the evidence gathered directly linked Donahue to the murder. This led to Donahue being arrested about 2 months ago for a killing that occurred almost 20 years prior. An amazing job by law enforcement to have never given up on securing justice for Denise.

Bone Evidence Leads to Killer

In 1972, on Thanksgiving Day in the Southern California city of Torrance, the Hollis family frantically called police. Why? Because their 11-year old daughter Terri-Lynn went out for a bike ride, but never returned.

The next day, Terri-Lynn’s body was found by some fisherman about 50 miles north on the rocky shores of the Ventura County coastline.  

Despite numerous leads, as well as the arrest – and eventual release – of an admitted sex offender, there were no convictions. The case went cold about 2 years after the killing.

Then, in 2000, the police revisited the matter.

After reopening the case, investigators discovered a DNA swab that had been taken from Terri-Lynn’s body around the time that she was found in Ventura. The DNA sample was sent to the Los Angeles County Crime Lab for testing.  Six years of random testing resulted in no match being found in the federal Combined DNA Index System.

The case went cold – again.

Not giving up just yet, investigators tried once again in 2015. At that time, the DNA was sent to a Virginia-based genetic genealogy lab for testing. Three years passed and still no match. Then, in 2018, investigators had a major breakthrough. The genetic testing led police to a potential relative of the person whose DNA was found on Terri-Lynn’s body.

Relying on the test results, the police located the suspect’s relative. That led investigators to discover the identity of the suspect – Jake Edward Brown. The killer was 36 at the time of the murder and, in the passing years, he had died and was buried in Arizona.

In an effort to finally resolve this almost 50-year old cold case, Arizona police exhumed the body of Brown. After removing his body, the suspect’s remains were sent to a Florida-based lab for analysis by forensic experts specializing in bones.

Investigators had an exact match. They found their killer.

Torrance police officially announced – in September 2019 – that the killer was found, and the case was closed.

Although nothing can heal the wounds inflicted on the families of the victims, there is a sense of closure that investigators have provided. And without the tireless efforts of law enforcement and forensic scientists, these cold murder cases would have never been solved. 

Are there any cold murder cases in your area that have recently garnered attention?

*

PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS

Detective Katie Scott Thriller

Book 6

One hell of an unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way… I almost had to read through my fingers… A brilliant, and highly recommended read.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I envy you the binge read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘An excellent, exhilarating read. I had to keep reading just another page, another page, as everything raced towards a high tension ending.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A twist at every page!Absolutely loved this book… so engrossed, read it in 2 days… well written and enthralling. Couldn’t put it down.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Brilliant! Brilliant! Absolutely freaking brilliant!!Shalini’s Books & Reviews, 5 stars

Amazon: http://ow.ly/aa8250FeIqN

Apple: http://ow.ly/M82450FeIqQ

Kobo: http://ow.ly/lGBl50FeIqP

Google: http://ow.ly/J52U50FeIqO

AUTHOR JENNIFER CHASE AMAZON BOOK PAGE

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Publication Day for PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS: Detective Katie Scott #Crime #Thriller

It’s always exciting every time a new book publishes! This has been such a fun series to write. Thank you Bookouture for this wonderful opportunity. Here’s the sixth installment and you’ll never guess who the killer is–Katie is caught in the middle of several cold cases and the killer is coming after her.

Pretty Broken Dolls is available in e-book, paperback, and audio.

Grab your copy:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3x7ZmnB

Apple: https://apple.co/3xBTQdz

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3dgbUCz

Google: https://bit.ly/2TNUOF1

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

*

Readers love Jennifer Chase:

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending: WOW definitely not what, or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Fantastic… had me glued to the pages and I didn’t want to put it down so gripping and suspenseful and wonderfully paced… A brilliant, nail-biting and highly recommended read.’ Brianne’s Book Reviews, 5 stars

I was hooked from the start. I couldn’t stop reading. I just needed to find out what happens. Katie is a total badassI loved the story sooo much awesome…I recommend it to everyone.’ Mama Bear’s Book Shelf, 5 stars

One hell of an unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way… I almost had to read through my fingers… A brilliant, and highly recommended read.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I envy you the binge read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘An excellent, exhilarating read. I had to keep reading just another page, another page, as everything raced towards a high tension ending.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

A twist at every page!Absolutely loved this book… so engrossed, read it in 2 days… well written and enthralling. Couldn’t put it down.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Brilliant! Brilliant! Absolutely freaking brilliant!!Shalini’s Books & Reviews, 5 stars

AUTHOR JENNIFER CHASE AMAZON BOOK PAGE

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*

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Science, Crime and Mystery: Top Forensic Labs in America and Abroad


Photo courtesy of west-technology.co.uk.

Criminal forensic experts are essentially detectives in a lab coat. These highly trained professionals are charged with reconstructing events, crime scenes and nefarious behavior using their knowledge of technology, physics, chemistry, and biology (among other scientific disciplines.) As a result of the hard work of a forensic specialist, law enforcement officers are provided more ammunition in their investigative pursuits of truth and justice.

Scientific and technological advancements are moving at a rapid pace. And with that, the world of forensics is evolving. The need for specialists is increasing quickly, and so is the requirement for state-of-the-art labs that can foster growth and innovation.

With that said, here’s a listing of some of the top domestic and international forensic labs.

Oglebay Hall Laboratories (Morgantown, WV)

Housed within the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science at West Virginia University, Oglebay Hall is a massive 18,000 square foot forensic lab. It was recently renovated to include the most technologically advanced forensic equipment, with a focus on tech involving trace evidence, microscopy, DNA analysis, forensic chemistry, latent prints, and questioned documents. 

Alongside Oglebay Hall is the university’s Crime Scene Training Complex, which is the largest of its type in the nation. The complex has four crime scene houses, a vehicle processing garage, a ballistics test center, and specialized outdoor venues that allow for realistic simulations of crime scenes. 

The university was the first to offer students bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in general forensic science.

Purdue Cybersecurity and Forensics Laboratory (West Lafayette, IN)

A pioneer in computer crime investigatory work, the Purdue Cybersecurity and Forensics Laboratory focuses on digital and cybersecurity forensics, from both an educational and practitioner standpoint.

Assisting with both the education of future forensic scientists and ongoing law enforcement investigations, this digital forensics-focused lab is a leader in both developing innovations for theoretical future issues, as well as current cybersecurity threats.

Known for its collaborative spirit, the Purdue Cybersecurity lab has a storied past of sharing insights, best practices, and cutting-edge research with both private and public entities alike.

Virginia Department of Forensic Science (Richmond, VA)

Providing independent forensic services to more than 400 law enforcement agencies, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) is a well-funded, world-class operation. With a central laboratory in Richmond and four regional facilities, the laboratory excels in DNA analysis, ballistics, toxicology, trace evidence and training.

At the forefront of forensic innovation, the DFS was the first state laboratory to offer DNA analysis to police departments; to create a DNA database of convicted sex offenders; and to pioneer the recording of DNA samples from felons. The DFS has familial DNA search capabilities and has been engaged in this work long before it became mainstream practice. 


Photo courtesy of theguardian.com.

Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) (the Hague, Netherlands)

Operating from its hi-tech, modern facility in the diplomatic epicenter of the Netherlands, the NFI invests heavily in research and development. At the forefront of both European and global forensic methods, the NFI invented Hansken, a system that compresses large amounts of forensic data, making it readily available for investigators at an amazing speed.

The ability to access such massive amounts of indexed and searchable data in a matter of seconds has aided law enforcement in cracking some major, unsolved crimes. One such example is the Hansken glass database, which stores information from glass shards at crime scenes, enabling police to quickly link perps to crimes ranging from high-end heists to simple burglaries where broken glass is involved.

European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI)

Founded in 1995 with the aim of improving the cross-border exchange of information relating to forensic innovation, the ENFSI has recently been focusing primarily on improving the overall quality of European forensic science. 

In addition to improving quality and competence, the ENFSI also focuses heavily on research, development, and training within its 17 different expert working groups, which include firearms, documents, DNA, tracing and explosives.  The European Commission has formally recognized the importance of ENFSI as the preeminent continental organization in the field of forensics.

Hancom GMD (South Korea)

In many nations, forensics is handled by corporations or other non-state sponsored organizations. For example, in Korea, Hancom GMD is a private entity that is at the forefront of digital forensics. Due to the rapid rise in the usage of smartphones, data extraction for criminal investigations has become vital and costly. And that’s where Hancom GMD comes into play.

A few years ago, their forensics team extracted and analyzed data from over 300 smartphones in an investigation pertaining to one of the biggest political scandals in the history of S. Korea. The country’s then-current president was accused of bribery. With only 60 days to investigate and prosecute, the forensic team was put to task, and was able to deliver sound results.

Recently, they contracted with the United Kingdom to provide digital forensic analysis, and the lab is heavily involved in data extraction from the cloud for investigative purposes.

Public and private forensic science work is growing rapidly. Scientists from across the globe are collaborating and sharing information for the overall betterment of forensic science. It’s exciting to think about the innovations that are soon to come. Do you know of any labs that deserve recognition for their excellent work?

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