In full transparency, the following is a media release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.
WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan has announced that internationally recognized Forensic Science specialist Dr. Claire Glynn will join the Office as a consultant.
In this newly created role, Dr. Glynn will work with the District Attorney, prosecutors, and police partners to employ the latest technology and expand the use of state-of-the-art investigatory tools.
Dr. Claire Glynn, Professor of Forensic Science, and the Assistant Director of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, will be working closely with investigators to examine and identify cases that would be strong candidates for utilizing FIGG to generate new leads and solve crimes. Dr. Glynn previously worked as a forensic scientist for one of the United Kingdom’s leading forensic science providers for UK law enforcement, Eurofins Forensic Services, which investigates some of the UK’s most challenging crimes.
“In Middlesex County we strive every day to be the most dedicated, effective, and most innovative prosecutor’s office in the United States. We recognize that technology is constantly evolving and, while we have already been able to use FIGG in some investigations, with the help of Dr. Glynn, we will be able to accomplish even more,” said District Attorney Ryan.
The multi-pronged partnership also includes, for the first time in Massachusetts, enlisting the public’s help to enhance existing DNA databases that law enforcement can use in FIGG investigations.
On Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., District Attorney Ryan, Dr. Glynn and Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller will host a DNA Drive Day at Newton City Hall. Members of the public, and particularly family members of missing persons, are encouraged to attend the event.
Participants will have the opportunity to voluntarily provide a DNA sample, collected using a mouth cheek swab, and in return will be provided a free genetic ancestry analysis from Family Tree DNA. The DNA information will also be added to GEDmatch, an online genetic genealogy database, where any member of the public can upload their DNA data to explore genetic connections with other users.
“DNA has had one of the most profound investigatory impacts on our work,” District Attorney Ryan continued. “It is important for the public to remember that we are not just using FIGG to identify suspects but also to help identify victims, missing persons and human remains. We are looking at these cases so that families who have been waiting for answers will finally know what happened to their loved ones. It is my hope that this program can serve as a model across the Commonwealth.”
In an effort to expand knowledge about this evolving tool, District Attorney Ryan, Dr. Glynn, Isa Woldeguiorguis, Executive Director, The Center of Hope and Healing, Inc. and Adrienne Lynch, Chief of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Homicide Unit, will discuss its potential uses at a program today.
In Middlesex County the use of FIGG is already having a tangible impact on cases. In February of this year, the Office announced (https://www.middlesexda.com/
District Attorney Ryan is focused on utilizing every possible tool including re-examining existing evidence and employing the latest investigative techniques and technology to resolve cases. Having creating the Office’s Cold Case Unit in 2019, District Attorney Ryan views this new initiative as “a natural outgrowth of my unwavering commitment to Middlesex County’s oldest unsolved cases.” Dr. Glynn’s work will include working with various units, including the Cold Case Unit to examine unsolved homicides, suspicious deaths where foul play is suspected, and missing persons cases.
Dr. Glynn is a Professor of Forensic Science and the Assistant Director of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Dr. Glynn joined the University of New Haven in 2014 and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in forensic science, focused on forensic biology, forensic DNA analysis, and Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG). Dr. Glynn previously worked as a forensic scientist at Eurofins Forensic Services (formerly named LGC Forensics) in Oxfordshire, England. Eurofins Forensic Services is one of the United Kingdom’s leading forensic science providers for the UK’s police forces. Dr. Glynn worked in the forensic biology department, within the homicide and sexual assaults team, which has investigated some of the UK’s most high-profile crimes. Dr. Glynn also conducts extensive research with her students, focused on FIGG, and the broad range of applications for this novel investigatory tool. This includes investigating the effects of degraded samples and novel technologies, establishing best practices, the international feasibility of this tool, historical applications, and ethical considerations, to name just a few. Dr. Glynn is the founding Director of the University of New Haven’s online Graduate Certificate in Forensic Genetic Genealogy, and she actively consults and provides subject matter expertise on the topic to law enforcement agencies, both nationally and internationally. Lastly, Dr. Glynn was named one of Connecticut’s “40 under 40” for the Class of 2022 by Connecticut Magazine.