Announcements & News

February 2014

Marshall University Forensic Science DNA analyst presents property crimes research

Season E. Seferyn, M.S.F.S., a Parentage DNA analyst at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, presented findings from a property crimes project at a conference sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The presentation titled, "A Comparison of 1,600 Property Crime Cases from Miami, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina," addressed findings from DNA test results of evidentiary items recovered from crime scenes from each jurisdiction. The findings included the types of evidentiary samples that were most likely to produce DNA profiles and the differences in legal definitions of a property crime from each jurisdiction according to federal, state or local code. Additionally, statistics were presented on the adjudication process of cases, sentencing and restitution for each jurisdiction.

The Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) participated in this project, coordinated by the National Institute of Justice, to partner with forensic laboratories that required DNA testing of property crime evidence. The goal of the project was to identify best practices for the sample collection process at the crime scene and enhance the DNA identification of the perpetrator.

In this project, the Miami-Dade region represented an urban metropolitan area and the Charleston, S.C., area represented a medium metropolitan area for comparison to determine success rates and identify trends in using DNA testing on evidence from no-suspect property crimes. The project is ongoing and includes property crimes that occurred in Huntington, W.Va., a small city in a rural state.

The project involved the identification of criminals through generating DNA profiles and entry of the profiles into CODIS, the COmbined DNA Index System. Information continues to be gathered on hits generated in CODIS to identify single perpetrators with multiple crimes and to identify serial events.

The information presented at the conference will assist law enforcement managers, supervisors and crime scene investigators with collection of evidence that may yield the best results from DNA testing to identify the perpetrator.

The agencies from South Carolina that participated in the project were the Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, the North Charleston Police Department, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center - Southeast.

The 120th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition was held in October in Philadelphia. The organization addresses issues confronting law enforcement through advocacy, program and research, training and other professional services.

This project was supported by award numbers 2005-MU-BX-K020, 2008-DN-BX-K219, and 2009-IJ-CX-K111 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice.

  • Mary Thomasson
  • Public Information Officer

  • Marshall University
    Forensic Science Center
  • 1401 Forensic Science Drive
  • Huntington, WV 25701