Face to Face: IHIA 2021

Othram is in DC for the 27th annual International Homicide Investigators Association conference, to showcase technology for solving "unsolvable" crimes.

I am excited to report that the Othram team is in Washington DC this week for the International Homicide Investigators Association conference. Come visit our booth if you are at the conference or if you are local to the DC area, give us a shout if you want to connect for an in-person consultation on a case or project.

What’s IHIA? From their website, here is a description of the IAHIA organization:

The IHIA is the world’s largest and fastest growing organization of homicide and death investigation professionals. The non-profit organization represents the largest network of homicide professionals and practitioners ever assembled. The IHIA has representatives in every U.S. state and nations on six continents.

My company, Othram, specializes in helping identify people from forensic evidence. We operate the only laboratory in the United States, purpose-built to apply the power of DNA sequencing to forensic evidence, particularly for use with human ID applications like Forensic Genetic Genealogy. I have written about how Othram accesses genetic information from evidence that has failed other methods — evidence that has been deemed “unsuitable for analysis”. For a recent example, read the case of Stephanie Isaacson. We identified the suspect in her sexual assault and murder using the least amount of DNA ever used in a forensic genetic genealogy case. The quantity was equivalent to about 15 human cells worth of DNA.

Another really important point: crime scene DNA is finite and often there is not a lot to start with. When you test DNA you consume it. It is gone forever. You risk a case going cold forever if you use inadequate test methods and the test fails. When the test fails, you fail a family that has spent decades waiting for an answer. Forensic DNA cannot be processed the way consumer, medical, and research DNA samples are processed. For more on what makes forensic DNA particularly challenging to work with, see my post about the Siobhan McGuinness case. This is why we need forensic laboratories and forensic processes. At Othram you get all that and its all in-house. The only company in the United States to offer this right now.

Michael and Yudo will be sharing our mission to digitize DNA evidence and to scale this powerful technology to tackle the hundreds of thousands of unsolved cases. True justice is not possible until the technology has been democratized for use by all agencies and cases. Reach out to us and find out how we can help you with your case.

If you can’t make it to the conference but you want to learn more, you can request a consultation (its totally free) for your case.

Finally, please check out our new infographic summarizing what is already possible — in just the last few years — for bring answers to unsolved cases:

We would love your feedback on the infographic, our booth at the conference, and our broader mission. Please post feedback and questions in the comments below!