NamUs: Naming The Unidentified, Finding The Missing – An Interview With J. Todd Matthews

 

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We loved talking to Todd Matthews last year, but there was much more to learn, so we invited him back for some important updates on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, also known as NamUs.

Todd is the Director of Case Management and Communications for NamUs. He  joined the NamUs management team in 2011 as the program transitioned to the UNT Health Science Center. In his current role, he manages the NamUs Regional System Administrator staff, oversees quality assurance and quality control of NamUs data, performs outreach and training, coordinates all NamUs print and broadcast media, and serves as the media spokesperson for NamUs.

Todd Matthews previously served as a NamUs Regional System Administrator and was a member of the NamUs Advisory Board for the development of the NamUs database and program. In those roles, he piloted efforts to coordinate data exchanges between NamUs and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

He has also served as the Media Director for two important volunteer programs related to missing and unidentified persons: The Doe Network and Project EDAN. He has worked as a blogger for Discovery ID and served as a consultant for Jerry Brukheimer on “The Forgotten” and Dick Wolf on “Lost & Found”, two scripted series related to missing and unidentified persons.

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LINKS:

NamUs: National Missing and Unidentified Persons System http://www.namus.gov

University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Center for Human Identification/Forensic Science Unit  http://www.untfsu.com/index.html

Todd Matthews on UNT site: http://www.untfsu.com/Staff/ToddMatthews.html

Crime and Science Radio 2015 Interview With Todd Matthews https://crimeandscienceradio.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=615&action=edit

Billy’s Law http://lostnmissing.org/billys-law/

The Dead Unknown: Part 1 Mountain Jane Doe (Reveal Films)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0vNQXsvrRU

 The Dead Unknown: Part 2 The Exhumation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN4ZsjgUO-4
The Dead Unknown: Part 3 What Secrets Lie Beneath https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05KRjEqEcl8
The Dead Unknown: Part 4 She Always Had a Name https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRK7muHRXJ4
 
Mountain Jane Doe Identified https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugiLiKi-RA
NY legislators want unidentified dead in federal database, Daily Freeman (from the Associated Press) July 6, 2016
 
“Who Killed Jane Doe #59? The Case of Reet Jurvetson – the fifth estate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTyQhn1MjX8

Project EDAN http://www.untfsu.com/forensicArt.html

“Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains: The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster,” NIJ report by Nancy Ritter. http://www.nij.gov/journals/256/pages/missing-persons.aspx

“Identifying Missing Persons and Unidentified Decedents” NIJ Website Law Enforcement topics http://nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/investigations/missing-persons/Pages/welcome.aspx

The Doe Network: http://doenetwork.org

Black and Missing Foundatation  http://www.blackandmissinginc.com/cdad/

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children http://www.missingkids.com/home

PBS Frontline‘s “Post Mortem” series map of death investigation in the U.S. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/post-mortem/map-death-in-america/

“Uniform Protocol to Address Unidentified Human Remains and Missing Persons,” Marzena H. Mulawka, Ismail M. Sebetan, and Paul C. Stein, in The Journal of Forensic Identification, available through NCJRS https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=254866

“Resolving Missing and Unidentified Person Cases Using Today’s Technologies,” Dustin Driscoll, National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) Analyst, in The Police Chief Magazine, May 2013 http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2925&issue_id=52013

Unidentified remains: What’s known about some of the nameless dead (database); Cleveland Plain Dealer August 8, 2016http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/08/unidentified_remains_whats_kno.html

How Kathy Thornton solved her sister’s 39-year-old murder case; Miami Herald, November 23, 2016 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article116796023.html

Should We Abandon Use of Lie Detector Tests As Junk Science? An Interview With Morton Tavel, M.D.

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We know of “lie detectors” — polygraph testing — from the news and from true crime programs. We see suspects take them on television and in movies and books — and we form opinions based on them. But should we? Are polygraph tests scientifically valid?

Listen to our interview with Dr. Morton Tavel to learn more about the realities of polygraph testing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

BIO:

Now retired, Dr. Tavel MD, FACC, is a physician specialist in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. In addition to managing patients for many years, he held a teaching position (Clinical Professor) at Indiana University School of Medicine. He was consulting cardiologist for the Care Group, Inc., a division of St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis and was the director of the cardiac rehabilitation program. His civic activities include, among others, having been past president of the local and Indiana state divisions of the American Heart Association.
He has presented numerous speeches and lectures before national audiences. His medical research includes over 125 publications, editorials, and book reviews that have appeared in peer-reviewed national medical journals. Dr. Tavel authored a book on cardiology (Clinical Phonocardiography) that persisted through four editions over a period of approximately 20 years, and has been a contributor to several other multi-authored textbooks. He has served on the editorial boards of several national medical journals.

BOOKS:
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Snake Oil is Alive and Well: The Clash between Myths and Reality. Reflections of Physician. Brighton Publishing, LLC, Mesa, Ariz., 2012
[https://www.amazon.com/Snake-Oil-Alive-Well-Reality-Reflections/dp/1936587882/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1470438900&sr=8-5&keywords=morton+tavel]
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Hell in the Heavens: The Saga of a WW2 Bomber Pilot, by Tavel, ME and Tavel, DE. Brighton Publishing, LLC, Mesa, Ariz. 2013.
[https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Heavens-Saga-Bomber-Pilot/dp/1621831078/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1470438900&sr=8-7&keywords=morton+tavel]
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Health Tips, Myths and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice. Brighton Publishing, LLC, Mesa, Ariz. 2015.
[Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.com/HEALTH-TIPS-MYTHS-TRICKS-Physicians-ebook/dp/B012BM7DGI/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470439165&sr=1-4&keywords=Morton+Tavel]
LINKS:
Dr. Morton Tavel‘s Website: http://www.mortontavel.com
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Tavel, Morton, “The ‘Lie Detector’ Test Revisted: A Great Example of Junk Science” Skeptical Inquirer. 40.1 (January/February 2016). http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_lie_detector_test_revisited_a_great_example_of_junk_science
Zelicoff, Alan P., “Polygraphs and the national labs: Dangerous ruse undermines national security.” Skeptical Inquirer, (July/August 2001).
Faigman, David L., Stephen E. Fienberg, and Paul C. Stern. “The Limits of the Polygraph.” Issues in Science and Technology 20, no. 1 (Fall 2003).  http://issues.org/20-1/faigman

National Academy of Sciences. 2003. The Polygraph and Lie Detection, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10420/the-polygraph-and-lie-detection
Zadrozny, Brandy, “The Polygraph Has Been Lying for 80 Years,” The Daily Beast, (February 4, 2015).
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/04/the-polygraph-has-been-lying-for-90-years.html

Iacono, William G., Forensic “Lie Detection”: Procedures Without Scientific Basis, Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 1 no. 1 (2001). Reproduced with permission on https://antipolygraph.org/articles/article-018.shtml

American Psychological Association: The Truth About Lie Detectors (aka Polygraph Tests) http://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx

Vergano, Dan, “Telling the Truth About Lie Detectors,” USA Today, (September 9, 2009)  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-lie_x.htm

Barber, Nigel, “Do Lie Detectors Work? Should You Ever Take a Polygraph?,” Psychology Today, March 7, 2013. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201303/do-lie-detectors-work

Letter of Aldrich Ames to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, on polygraph tests, postmarked November 28, 2000, reproduced on Federation of American Scientists Website: http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/polygraph/ames.html

Santos, Fernanda, “Vindicated by DNA, but a Lost Man on the Outside,” New York Times, November 25, 2007. [Story of Jeffrey Deskovic, who at the age of sixteen was arrested and told he “failed” a polygraph during a seven-hour interrogation process, and was wrongfully convicted.] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/us/25jeffrey.html?_r=0

Meet Iris, the FBI’s Only Electronic-Sniffing Dog: An Interview with Jeffrey Calandra

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Criminals and terrorists often hide data on electronic devices and then hide these devices. And they re often very clever about doing so. In such search situations, many subjects hide flash drives, hard drives, and other electronic components so if the police come, the instruments of their crimes may not be found. Take the example of a child pornography case where a subject will put pictures of innocent children on a thumb drive and hide it in the yard, behind walls, and all sorts of other places. In a normal search, a human investigator may not find the media.

What’s the FBI to do? Enter Iris, a young, eager, lab who is the FBI’s only canine capable of sniffing out these devices. And she’s one of only five in the world. How does she do it? How was she trained for such specialized work?

In this episode we talk with Jeffrey Chandra and he can tell us how all this accomplished, as well as how dogs are used in other criminal detection activities.

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BIO: Jeffrey Calandra possesses a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Masters in Criminal Justice with concentration in Computer Forensics. He spent 6-1/2 years as a special agent working child pornography, criminal computer intrusions, fraud, and bomb threat cases. HE has also assisted on Counter Intelligence, Counter-Terrorism, Drug, and Gang cases and has served as a member of the Hostage Negotiator team. He is currently a K9 handler for the FBI Electronic Scent Detection K9 Iris.

Iris, a 20 month-old black lab, is the first of her type in the FBI and one of 5 in the world. She will be the future of law enforcement. Already we are getting requests from across the country for her assistance. For a little background, Iris was trained as a seeing eye dog for a year and then was selected to be a law enforcement dog.

To Learn and Die in LA: Crime Scenes, Criminalistics, and the Cutting Edge in Los Angeles: An Interview with Former LASD Criminalist Professor Donald Johnson of CSULA

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This episode brought about a first for us. We recorded this program before a live audience — a meeting of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, at the Tam O’Shanter Restaurant.

Professor Johnson provided many insights on the work of those who scientifically examine crime scenes and the evidence gathered from them. He talked about changes in forensic science, new frontiers, and forensic science education. We know our listeners will love this episode!

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Professor Donald James Johnson is an expert on criminalistics, with emphasis on crime scene investigation and reconstruction (homicides and sexual assaults), and forensic biology. His research interests include the application of new technologies to the field of criminalistics. He was formerly a senior criminalist at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he was involved in the scientific investigation of violent crimes.

LINKS:
California Forensic Science Institute: http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/cfsi
School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at CSULA: http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/crim
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SboLJ7WwnXQ
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: http://sheriff.lacounty.gov
American Academy of Forensic Sciences http://www.aafs.org
 THANKS ALSO TO…

We’d like to thank Craig Faustus Buck, president of the So Cal Chapter of MWA, for his kind invitation to record a live program at a meeting, and Timothy Burke for his technical assistance.

The BTK Killer and Other Serial Murderers: An Interview with Psychologist and Author Dr. Katherine Ramsland

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Dr. Katherine Ramsland, director of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at DeSales University, also teaches the forensic psychology track. She has published over 1,000 articles, stories, and reviews, and 59 books, including The Mind of a Murderer, The Forensic Science of CSI, Inside the Minds of Serial KillersThe Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation, The Ivy League Killer, and The Murder Game.

Her book Psychopath was a #1 bestseller on the Wall Street Journal’s list. With former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary, she co-authored a book on his cases, The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us; with Dr. Henry C. Lee, The Real Life of a Forensic Scientist; and with Professor James E. Starrs, A Voice for the Dead. She presents workshops to law enforcement, psychologists, coroners, judges, and attorneys, and has consulted for several television series, including CSI and Bones.

She also writes a regular blog for Psychology Today called “Shadow-boxing” and consults for numerous crime documentary production companies.

Her most recent book (August 2016) is with serial killer Dennis Rader, called Confessions of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer. She will also publish The Ripper Letter, a supernatural thriller based on Jack the Ripper lore, and a textbook, Forensic Investigation: Methods from Experts (2017).

She talks to us about the experience of working with Rader, the conditions under which she took on the project, about the psychology of serial killers, and more.

LINKS:

Website: www.katherineramsland.com

Blog: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shadow-boxing

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Kath.ramsland/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatRamsland

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Forensic Science Then and Now: an Interview with Jay Jarvis

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Jay Jarvis is a native of Long Island, New York. While a student in high school, his chemistry class went on a tour of the New York City Police Crime Lab. It was on that trip that Jay decided that his interest in chemistry could be best used in the field of forensic science. After his family relocated to Georgia, Jay earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Georgia College. To better prepare himself for a career in forensic science, Jay applied for and was accepted into the graduate program in Forensic Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Master of Science degree in 1979. Immediately after graduate school, he was hired at the Georgia State Crime Laboratory in Atlanta.

During his 32-plus year career, Jay either performed casework in or was a supervisor for most of the forensic disciplines. Between 1982 and 1997, he wore a multitude of hats, performing casework in firearms and tool marks, hair, fiber and glass comparisons, footwear and tire tread examinations, fire debris and explosives analysis, latent fingerprint processing, marijuana identification, presumptive blood testing and crime scene analysis for a large area of central Georgia. He has testified as an expert in Federal Court and the courts of Georgia and several other states over 750 times.

Jay also has extensive experience in crime laboratory accreditation, having served as an accreditation assessor and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), including one year as the Board Chair. He has been invited to speak at seminars and training sessions on topics related to forensic science. Jay currently lives in northwest Georgia just outside the metropolitan Atlanta area, which allows him easy access to most destinations via Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

 

 

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BOOKS:
Georgia’s Crime Doctor http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/jay-jarvis/georgias-crime-doctor/hardcover/product-10639368.html

LINKS:

National Commission on Forensic Science Recommendations on Accreditation https://www.justice.gov/ncfs/file/477851/download

“Real-Life Not Like CSI on Television,” Macon Telegraph article on Jay Jarvis http://www.armaforensics.com/uploads/Real_Life_CSI-Grisamore.pdf

“Alumnus carries microscope into career,” Georgia College Alumnus article on Jay Jarvis
http://www.armaforensics.com/uploads/Alumnus_carries_microscope.pdf

Arma Forensics www.armaforensics.com