Dr. Fenger inductee for Greater Huntington Wall of Fame | Herald-Dispatch

City of Huntington to recognize 2011 Wall of Fame inductees

August 10, 2011 @ 12:00 AM,  The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — The City of Huntington Foundation has announced its 2011 inductees for the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame.

The inductees are: Thomas J. Bell; Terry W. Fenger, Ph.D..; Maxine Kitchen Loudermilk; Robert E. “Bob” Tweel; and Ron E. Smith…

TERRY W. FENGER, Ph.D..: Fenger was born and raised in northern Illinois, and attended Northern Illinois University Dekalb, Ill., and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he received his doctorate in microbiology in 1976. He conducted post-doctoral research on the replication of measles virus and herpes virus infection of the eye. When that work was complete, he accepted a position of assistant professor of microbiology at Marshall University. Fenger was involved in the establishment of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center through his work with the West Virginia State Police Crime Laboratory. After Fenger’s work in the Glen Dale Woodall case, where a man was acquitted of rape through DNA evidence, the professor developed graduate level courts to workers in the crime lab. That program has since grown into a highly successful educational, research and service center that addressed the need of the national forensic science community and brings recognition and economic benefits to Marshall University and Huntington…

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Forensics lab dissects the tech | Charleston Daily Mail

Tuesday August 9, 2011

by Zack Harold, Daily Mail staff

As with everything else, crime is moving online. And thanks to experts at the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Unit, there’s a new way to dust for fingerprints.


Cpl. Robert Boggs runs the unit’s Huntington lab, housed in the Marshall University Forensic Science Center.


A self-confessed geek, Boggs has been hunting down and catching digital criminals since 2006. He was the only investigator in the lab at the time. He now has help from Chris Vance, the Huntington unit’s mobile forensics expert, as well as university graduate students…

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Marshall University forensics professor receives federal grant to analyze interpretation of fire debris


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University has received a $540,752 grant from the National Institute of Justice for a two-year project to study factors that affect interpretation of data by fire debris analysts and to develop a computer program to aid in interpretation.

Dr. J. Graham Rankin, a professor of forensic chemistry in the Forensic Science Graduate Program at Marshall, is conducting the study, which began January 1, 2011.

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report released in 2009 on the practice of forensic science recommended more basic research to determine the reliability of many tests – like fire debris analysis – that depend on pattern recognition. Rankin said the grant program is a positive response to the NAS report.

He said the study will help fire debris analysts in crime laboratories and private laboratories better understand how to interpret their results. Fire debris analysts work closely with fire debris investigators in local fire departments to determine whether a fire was accidental or intentional.

“Our research will aid in improving the understanding of the accuracy and reliability of the data commonly used by fire debris analysts, and we will be validating techniques,” Rankin said. “This interpretation will be used to determine the presence and classification of ignitable liquid residues found in fire debris which may indicate that the fire was deliberately started.”

For the study, ignitable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, charcoal lighters and other commonly used accelerants will be used to ignite a variety of wood products and carpeting found in homes.  The fire debris generated will be analyzed by two standard methods used by the forensic community.

Data produced by these methods will be distributed to fire debris analysts across the country as “blind case files” for determination about whether or not an ignitable liquid is present and to identify its classification.

Preliminary analyses performed this summer by Amanda Heeren, a second-year graduate student, indicate that the type of wood as well as the extent of charring are important factors in chromatographic patterns from the standard methods. In February, Hereen will present her work at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences national meeting in Chicago. She continues to work on the research project this academic year.

Statistical analysis of the results will be used to determine the number of “false positives” (a conclusion that an ignitable liquid is present, when none is), “false negatives” (concluding that no ignitable liquid is present when one was used) and any incorrect classification of the residue.

“Because background compound products in fire debris are frequently formed which can appear as low levels of ignitable liquids, most lab protocols require a significant amount present to ‘make a call.’ One factor we are investigating is the minimal amount of ignitable liquid residues needed to make a correct assignment to one of the classes of ignitable liquids as specified by the standard method used,” Rankin said. “One other important factor is that the presence of an ignitable liquid does not mean it was used as an accelerant in an intentional fire. It could be incidental, like residual paint thinner in a freshly painted wall, or maybe the cause of an accidental fire, like gasoline fumes ignited by a hot water heater pilot in an enclosed garage.”

A co-principal investigator on the grant is Dr. Nicholas Petraco, associate professor in the John Jay College of Law, City University of New York, in New York City. Petraco and his students will be responsible for the advanced statistical analysis of interpretation of chromatographic data and the development of the expert system. The same ‘blind case files’ will be used to test the expert system.

The activities for the study, “Interpretation of Ignitable Liquid Residues in Fire Debris Analysis:  Effect of Competitive Adsorption, Development of an Expert System and Assessment of the False Positive/Incorrect Assignment Rate,” are funded by project number 2010-DN-BX-K272 through the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Research conducted by Hereen was supported by project number 2008-DN-BX-K146 through the National Institute of Justice.

View original article: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/1176

West Virginia’s DNA database helps solve cold case – WVPubcast.org

October 28, 2010 · Huntington officials announced last week that they are prosecuting a man already in prison for a Cabell County rape that occurred over 20 years ago.

Donald Good has been in jail for 14 years after pleading guilty to a murder that happened in 1992. He is now charged with the 1987 rape of a woman at the Huntington Mall. Good’s DNA was tested and found to match evidence collected at the crime scene.

Through a West Virginia law passed in 1995, convicted violent felons are required to give DNA samples. Backlogged DNA was recently sent to the Marshall University Forensic Science Center where a DNA profile was created. Terry Fenger is the director of the center… read more on WVPubcast.org.

Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center at Forefront of DNA Technology – WSAZ

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — The DNA that has helped police pinpoint a new suspect in the 1987 Huntington Mall rapes went through the labs at Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center.

“It shows the criminal justice system never sleeps.” says Dr. Terry Fenger, the director Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center.
“we process upwards of 3000 DNA cases for West Virginia State Police each year.”

It’s all anonymous. The DNA samples are sent, processed and sent back to WV State Police. It’s a partnership more than 15 years old.

“The original Woodall case, that’s when I originally made contact with the WV state police; that’s what really initiated this partnership.” says Dr. Fenger, “I should point out this partnership is a model for the country.”

Since Glen Dale Woodall was convicted of the Huntington Mall Rapes of 1987, WV law has changed. Now every convicted felon must submit to DNA sampling. Currently there are more than 11 thousand in the state’s database.

Watch video or read more.

AAFS 2011 – Call for Student Posters

The Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF), in association with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), is currently accepting abstracts for poster presentations on forensic research, case studies, or other relevant research, for the YFSF/AAFS annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois February 21-26, 2011.

Poster submissions are due January 1st, 2011.

For more information please visit aafs.org. You may also contact Stephanie M. Crider at crider_sm@yahoo.com, or Taryn Mead at tarynmead@gmail.com.

Graduate Program Open House Friday October 29, 2010

Interested in our graduate program? The Marshall University Forensic Science Program is participating in the Marshall University BMS Graduate Programs Open House on Friday, October 29, 2010.  To sign up, visit
Open House Registration – bms.marshall.edu or call the BMS program at 304-696-3365.  If you have specific questions for the Forensic Science Program, then e-mail forensics@marshall.edu or call 304-691-8931.

Funding for MU forensics center passes Senate committee – WV Gazette

WV Gazette: September 23, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved nearly $6 million in federal research funds for the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Carte Goodwin announced in a news release…
Read more: http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201009230666

Funding for MU forensics center passes Senate committee – WV Gazette

September 23, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved nearly $6 million in federal research funds for the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Carte Goodwin announced in a news release.

Read more – http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201009230666

MUFIA Entertainment Book Fundraiser

MUFIA (Marshall University Forensic Identification Association) is selling Entertainment Books to raise money for conferences and professional development trips. To buy your local book:

1. Visit www.entertainment.com/support
2. Enter group number: 961110 (otherwise MUFIA doesn’t get credit)
3. Enter your zip code.
4. Buy your book!

Tell your friends and family. The fundraiser ends September 30, 2010, so order soon!

Digital evidence conference begins Tuesday at Marshall University Forensic Science Center

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence (AIDE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving professionals and students of the legal, technical and business communities that work with digital evidence, is sponsoring its first conference at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center. Each day will focus on one of the four sub-groups of digital evidence: digital forensics, electronic discovery, law enforcement and network security.

John Sammons, an assistant professor in Marshall’s Integrated Science and Technology Department, helped found the AIDE to serve as a resource to help professionals better handle the intricacies of digital evidence in both civil and criminal litigation.

Tuition for the event is free, but registration is required. For more information, contact Sammons at 304-633-3411or visit http://aide.marshall.edu/.

WHAT: Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence Conference for lawyers, judges, digital forensic examiners, network security professionals and law enforcement personnel

WHERE: Marshall University Forensic Science Center

WHEN: Tuesday, July 27-Friday, July 30; Tuesday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHO: The Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the professionals and students of the legal, technical and business communities that work with digital evidence.

SPONSORS: Sponsors for the event include Jackson Kelly Attorneys at Law, AccessData, Second Creek Technologies, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, Marshall University Department of Integrated Science & Technology and Marshall University Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology.