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CSU, Chico News

Forensic Conference Draws Leading Anthropologists Nov. 2

Date: 10-22-2013

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

Four of the nation’s foremost forensic specialists will gather at California State University, Chico to share their research and recent projects at the Chico Forensic Conference on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology and the Anthropology Graduate Student Association, the conference will bring together about 250 students, faculty, law enforcement officials and community members to discuss the latest trends in the forensic field. This year marks the 10th time since 1998 the University has hosted the free event, slated for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Ayres Hall, Room 106.

Kicking off the program will be Sharon Derrick, a forensic anthropologist at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston, Texas, with her presentation “It’s About the Boys: Identifying the Teenaged Victims of the 1973 Houston Mass Murders.” Derrick has extensive medical examiner office experience and has participated in bio-archaeological surveys and excavation projects.

Later in the morning, Joseph Hefner, a forensic anthropologist at the federal Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command’s (JPAC) Central Identification Laboratory, will present “Hooton and the Harvard List: The Evolution of Morphoscopic Traits and Ancestry.” Previously, Hefner served as a forensic anthropologist for the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office and was principal investigator of bio-archaeology for Statistical Research, Inc. in Tucson, Ariz.

After a lunch break, Todd Fenton, associate professor of anthropology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, will give a presentation on his current research project, “Pediatric Cranial Fracture Initiation, Propagation and Interpretation.” Fenton is a diplomat of the American Academy of Forensic Anthropology.

The day’s final presentation will be given by Christopher Hopkins, director of the Forensic Science Graduate Program at the University of California, Davis. Hopkins, who has also served as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will speak on “The Long Arm of Science: How Forensic Science Is Used to Solve Crimes After the Evidence Has Been ‘Destroyed.’”

The Department of Anthropology’s Human Identification Lab is one of a handful of forensic labs in the western United States. Established in 1972, the lab processes up to 40 consultations for law enforcement agencies each year and provides scene recovery services throughout Northern California.

Registration is not required. For more information on the conference, visit facebook.com/chicoforensicconference.