The arrival of Dr. Turhon Murad in 1972 at CSU, Chico, saw the development of the academic and applied service of forensic anthropology in northern California. The service was enhanced by the addition of Dr. P. Willey in 1989, Dr. Eric Bartelink in 2006, and Dr. Colleen Milligan in 2010. Dr. Willey, Dr. Murad (retired 2010), and Dr. Bartelink are Fellows of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA). Dr. Milligan is a Member of AAFS. CSU, Chico is among the few programs in North America with three forensic anthropologists on the faculty. The forensic anthropology faculty, staff, and students at CSU, Chico have played an important role in assisting various sheriff, police and coroner’s departments, district attorneys, the California Department of Justice, the Nevada Division of Investigation, and the FBI.


The Department of Anthropology’s forensic and physical anthropology facilities include the CSU, Chico, Human Identification Laboratory (CSUC-HIL), the Zooarchaeology Laboratories, and the Stable Isotope Preparation Laboratory.

The CSUC-HIL facility is on the ground floor of Plumas Hall. The laboratory is approximately 2500 square feet, and includes microscopy and photography stations, and osteometric equipment. The wet lab includes a standard autopsy sink, an examination table, a three-body mobile morgue, and a dermestid beetle colony. It includes a Hewlett Packard Faxitron x-ray cabinet with a digital radiographic processor. A 200 square foot secure evidence room is connected to the laboratory.  The zooarchaeology laboratory is adjacent to the CSUC-HIL and contains approximately 1,600 skeletons of nearly 700 different species of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. In addition to being an important archaeological resource, the zooarchaeology lab has been extremely valuable for its role in identifying non-human skeletal remains believed to be of forensic significance.