Category Archives: Forensic Investigator

DNA evidence leads to breakthrough in 40-year-old case

Cold cases are notoriously difficult to crack, but advancements in technology have allowed DNA evidence to solve even the toughest crimes.

DNA came to the rescue once again for a Nevada murder case that has been ongoing for more than 40 years. The victim, known only as ‘Jane Arroyo Grande Doe’, was found dead outside Las Vegas. Attempts to identify her were fruitless, until last month when DNA helped to finally reveal her name.

Tammy Terrell’s identity was confirmed through investigative genetic genealogy, where DNA is used to match people and trace relationships to determine potential relatives of an unidentified person.

Terrell was just 17 when her body was found by a driver in the desert area near Arroyo Grande Boulevard on October 5. This was just a week after she was last seen with two unidentified people at a Roswell, New Mexico restaurant on September 28. Officials believe the teenager was heading to California before she was killed.

Previous attempts had been made over the decades to identify her body, but it was not until November 2021 that the Henderson police force made a breakthrough. The authorities received a positive confirmation of her identity thanks to forensic genealogy and experts who were also responsible for identifying the Golden State Killer in 2018. The samples that led to this discovery came from her two sisters, but police stated that the investigation into her death was still ongoing.

Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG)

Looking for a fresh challenge in the New Year? ICFECI may have just the thing for you.

The Institute offers a number of courses for investigators at any stage of their career, boasting an extensive range of programs in all areas of forensic examination. One of our more recent offerings is the Investigative Genetic Genealogy course, also known as IGG.

DNA is a vital source of evidence in any case, and it’s essential that this evidence is handled appropriately. One of the ways we can use DNA is by identifying who it belongs to and explaining why that material might have been found there. For example, we may expect to find a husband’s hair fibers on his wife’s clothing, however it would be less obvious why her tennis coach’s hair would be there.

If we know the source of the DNA already or have suspects who can provide a sample, usually this allows us to piece together who committed the crime. But sometimes DNA can be found that does not match to any of the victim’s relatives, friends or suspects in the case. This foreign DNA must be investigated as it could lead to the arrest of the perpetrator, but how can authorities match the DNA to a complete stranger?

That’s where Investigative Genetic Genealogy comes in. This allows investigators to access public data, personal genomics DNA databases or private company information to see if they can find a match. Automated algorithms generate potential relative matches by finding shared blocks of DNA, submitted voluntarily by users of these services. The IGG course teaches the forensic application of this genetic data and how to use public databases and traditional genealogical records to analyze crime scene samples.

If you’d like to enroll on this course or find out more, get in touch with ICFECI today. One of our experts is always on hand to provide more information and will gladly help you with your query.

Forensic Investigation Programs

When it comes to forensic investigation, technology is key. The amount of data that can be retrieved from computers, cell phones and other devices is almost limitless, with everything from messages and photos to downloads and files recovered quickly and easily. The software that allows investigators to do this should therefore be chosen very carefully – experts need fast results they can rely on, so trawling through various programs is not ideal. Instead, investigators use these key platforms to make sure they get all the evidence they need in as short a time as possible.

Autopsy

Autopsy is a sophisticated program used by professionals around the globe. National security, large corporations and law enforcement agencies all use Autopsy to help gather evidence and build their cases with ease and speed. The program is intuitive and user-friendly, meaning that you can learn how to use it in next to no time even if you’re a complete beginner. If you’re a first-timer looking for something simple or you need to verify your findings from elsewhere, Autopsy is the perfect solution.

Oxygen Forensic Detective

Oxygen Forensic Detective is an advanced system that can extract data from multiple sources. Oxygen offers a number of valuable tools, including password extraction, deleted data recovery and screen lock bypassing. This powerful software can also present your data using compelling visualization features, allowing you to show key locations, social connections, timelines and more.

Magnet AXIOM

If you have an enormous amount of information to get through or you need as many sources as you can get, Magnet AXIOM is the answer. This platform from Magnet Forensics boasts that it can search through more sources than any other forensic tool, and does so at impressive speed. Few systems are impossible to penetrate with Magnet Axiom, as it can access data from Windows, Mac, Chrome and Linux, as well as Oxygen, Cellebrite and GrayKey.

Forensic Toolkit

Forensic Toolkit (FTK) is hailed as the gold standard for digital forensics. With a range of impressive imaging features and decryption abilities, FTK can locate, manage and filter data at lightning-fast speed. FTK can decrypt files, recover deleted emails and crack passwords from more than 100 applications and offers full support for Apple products that most other tools cannot. Users also benefit from sophisticated malware support, advanced visualization technology and Explicit Image Detection (EID).

Autopsy

Getting the facts right is important in any situation, but none more so than in legal cases. Putting a case together and establishing the truth for a client who has been wrongfully accused, for instance, relies on stringent fact-checking  and authentication. That’s why ICFECI and tens of thousands of others use Autopsy, a powerful tool that validates findings from forensic programs like FTK and Oxygen. The open source digital forensics platform is a fast, thorough, and efficient hard drive investigation  solution offering all the core features a forensic investigator needs.

The software is built by Basis Technology, who also offer training, commercial support and add-on modules. Training allows investigators to maximize efficiency and obtain CPE credits, while the subscription-based support grants you access to dedicated engineers providing expert knowledge and timely resolutions. As well as this, users can request custom modules to streamline investigations, access advanced expertise and take advantage of flexible IP models.

Autopsy is designed with ease of use in mind. It’s used by law enforcement, corporate examiners and national security, so making things intuitive and easy to follow is something this program does very well. Everyone wants results fast, and this is another thing Autopsy excels at — the platform runs background tasks in parallel and will show you in minutes if keywords are found on a device. Users can also skip unnecessary,  time intensive steps for a less thorough analysis, and you can also prioritize folders and files you are particularly keen to examine.

Perhaps the greatest feature of Autopsy is its affordability. The software is free to use, and provides a sophisticated forensic tool comparable to other commercial programs. In fact, Autopsy offers other features like web artifact analysis that more costly tools do not.

If you’d like to find out more about Autopsy, feel free to contact ICFECI todav or download for free on their website.

Why become an investigator?

Choosing a career is no easy feat. If you have different hobbies and interests, narrowing these down and picking one job is daunting. There are so many career paths available to us and so many routes we can take to get there, but ultimately the decision is your own. If you’re interested in becoming an investigator or you’re wondering whether computer forensics is your forte, there are a few things to keep in mind first.

Technical expertise

When you’re working with computers, cell phones and other devices, technical expertise is a must. It doesn’t matter how much you like the idea of a job, if you cannot handle the practicalities and advanced technology involved, you’re not likely to be successful. But if you know your way around a PC or you have the capacity to learn, becoming a forensic investigator will suit you perfectly. If you have the skills, training in computer forensics will be a challenge you can face head on.

Helping others

There are many vocations you can follow if helping others is your priority. From nursing and care work to teaching and charity, there is no shortage of job opportunities where you can make a difference. Fortunately, forensic investigation falls in this category too: your work can be the difference between someone going to jail or keeping their freedom, proving their innocence or living in the shadow of doubt. Your work can change the future of families living without their loved ones, and you can ensure the right person is brought to justice and prevent them from committing more crimes. There is no greater way of helping society than by keeping dangerous criminals off the streets, so if helping others is important to you than forensic investigation is a great career path.

Exciting challenges

Forensic investigation is like a puzzle. You have some clues here and there, but it’s your job to gather the information and put the pieces together. If you enjoy crosswords, sudoku, escape rooms, jigsaws or any game that puts your mind to the test, forensic investigation is the career for you. Those who thrive under pressure, readily accept challenges and get satisfaction from a job well done will no doubt enjoy great success as an investigator.

Oxygen Forensic Detective

ICFECI uses a number of programs to solve cases, one of them being Oxygen Forensic Detective. This software is an advanced system that can extract data from multiple sources

  • be it cell phones, hard drives or memory cards, Oxygen can retrieve, decode and analyze information at an impressive

Oxygen offers a number of features that are invaluable for forensic investigators. From discovering data and backing up important evidence to presenting timelines and visualizing key graphs, Oxygen Forensic Detective provides a comprehensive and sophisticated service to solve even the toughest of cases. Features include:

  • Bypassing screen locks
  • Finding passwords
  • Recovering deleted data
  • Facial recognition and image categorization
  • Social links analysis and timeline view
  • User data from apps like Facebook, PayPal, Maps etc
  • Back ups and importing from other forensic tools
  • CDR analysis
  • Locations visualization

One of the fundamental benefits of using Oxygen is the sheer volume of data the program can extract. Gathering evidence has never been easier when the software allows you to retrieve information such as:

  • SMS, MMS, iMessages etc
  • Emails and attachments
  • Photos and videos
  • Audio files
  • Device logs
  • Contacts
  • Call logs
  • Passwords
  • Wi-Fi connections

Once the evidence is uncovered, Oxygen uses intelligent mapping and visualization techniques to show social connections, locations, timelines and more. This gives investigators and clients a clear picture of the case, and allows key information to be presented effectively to authorities, attorneys and juries.

Oxygen Forensic Detective is available on USB dongle for single use, enabling you to connect to one server for 5, 10, 20 or 50 concurrent licenses. This offers an easy, cost effective solution for large organizations which can be scaled according to suite requirements.

To find out more, head to the official website here or get in touch with ICFECI for further

information.

What should I do if I am wrongly accused?

Miscarriages of justice are sadly not as rare as you might expect. Mistakes can happen at any stage of an investigation, and of course sometimes witnesses do not always tell the truth. These cases are tragic not only for the victims and the wrongfully accused, but also for the general public while the perpetrator remains at large.

You might find yourself in this position, or you may be wondering how you can help someone close to you. Although you may feel helpless in this situation, there are steps you can take to give yourself the best chance at fighting a wrongful conviction.

Collect evidence

Proving your innocence is much easier if you have concrete evidence. If you know there are photos, emails or records that can provide an alibi, gather as much of this as you can to present to the authorities. Even if you don’t think you have evidence to exonerate you, it’s important to go through everything you have to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed or nothing that experts can use to prove your innocence.

Get advice

Seeking legal advice is never a bad idea, and the sooner you do it, the better your chances will be. No matter how much you think you know, there are lawyers out there that have seen and heard everything imaginable. They have been through years of training and experience and will no doubt have come across a case like yours before. Get some advice from them and follow their guidance to ensure your case does not go to trial.

Hire an expert

Evidence is your best shot at proving your innocence, but it’s not always easy to get. That’s why hiring a forensic investigator in Fort Worth is the best solution – these experts can retrieve all sorts of information from a number of devices, even if it’s been hidden, deleted or damaged. Investigators are trained in recovering data that nobody else can, so to give yourself the best chance at avoiding jail time for a crime you didn’t commit, get in touch with ICFECI today.

Business crimes and how to avoid them

Running a company is a tough job, especially if you have a large team to oversee. While we’d like to think we know and trust our employees, occasionally there are some that surprise us in the worst way. Businesses are often susceptible to criminals stealing information, ideas and money, but there are a number of precautionary measures you can take to prevent this.

Theft

If your place of work stores a lot of products or cash, theft is surely one of the most prevalent crimes affecting your business. Trusting employees with large amounts of money and expensive stock is a risk, but this can be successfully mitigated using CCTV cameras, stock takes and employee monitoring.

Espionage

Business espionage or industrial espionage refers to theft of ideas, data or knowledge. Competitors may place spies in your workforce to acquire trade secrets or technologies without you even realizing. A forensic investigator in Texas can help track your employees’ activity and detect any fraudulent behavior.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement involves employees using and abusing the company’s funds for their own needs. They may falsely acquire assets or covertly direct money their own way, effectively stealing from the business. Keep a close eye on any employees you suspect are doing this, and make sure there is more than one person dealing with financial matters – one individual should not have all the power and access that would enable them to commit these crimes.

Forgery

Falsifying documents or altering existing ones is a small but hugely illegal act that could cause massive problems for your business. Employees may forge contracts, receipts, deeds and other documents, so be sure to have a stringent verification system in place and keep important paperwork locked away from those who don’t need access.

If you’re looking for a certified fraud examiner or a forensic expert to investigate your employees, contact ICFECI today.

 

3 Reasons to Hire a Forensic Investigator

If you’re in a position where you need to hire a ` investigator, you might be wondering what benefits this service brings. Many people have never needed cell phone and computer forensics before, so it may be the case that you are unsure what the work entails. Whatever your situation, hiring a forensic investigator could be vital to your case, and here we explain 3 reasons why.

Expertise

Becoming a forensic investigator takes a lot of time and training. The domain is constantly evolving, which means practitioners must evolve with it and keep learning new programs, equipment and systems all the time. This is not something that can be done overnight, so investigators must devote a lot of time to become experts in their field. At ICFECI, our clients benefit from the wealth of qualifications we hold including certifications in fraud, criminal and cell phone/computer examinations. Our lab is fully equipped to handle all kinds of cell phones, hardware and software, even in cases of damaged goods.

Experience

Having worked in the field for more than 40 years, ICFECI founder Dan James has the knowledge and experience required to investigate your case. Although education and training plays a huge part in the success of a forensic investigator, years of practical experience bring advantages that cannot be learned. It is through the hundreds of cases ICFECI has worked on that we can proudly call ourselves one of the most effective, successful Institutes of Forensic Examinations and Criminal Investigations in the country. We have done our job and delivered the goods time and time again, and believe our history and testimonials speak volumes about the quality of the services we offer.

Impartiality

In certain cases, having an unbiased voice involved is exactly what is needed to get the work done properly. If an employee accuses a co-worker of a crime, for example, hiring an outside agency can eliminate any appearance of bias towards one party or another. This would ensure that any investigation is completed by the book, with no threat of partiality clouding any evidence that may be discovered.

If your case requires a forensic investigator, ICFECI can help. Whether you need cyber forensics, fraud examinations or criminal investigations, we offer a range of services to ensure justice is served. Get in touch today to find out more.