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To kick off Season of Justice’s Jog For Justice virtual 5k running through April 2024, Dark Down East host, Kylie Low sat down with SOJ Advisory Board Member and molecular biologist Meredith Turnbough, PhD, for a candid conversation about all things DNA and its impact on cold case investigations.

This event was recorded live on April 1, 2024.

True Crime as a genre has always piqued the interest of society, but in today’s connected world, platforms like podcasts, YouTube, and social media make it easier for anyone to have a worldwide audience. For many victims’ families, this open exposure can be the key to solving their loved one’s murder or help bring a missing person home. For others, it can quickly become a nightmare that threatens to detrimentally harm the investigation. In our first virtual panel discussion, we discuss the complexities of navigating ethics in true crime with industry leaders and family members. Thank you to our panelists for donating their time and energy to have this discussion and to our event sponsor, Uncovered.

This event was recorded live on March 8, 2023.

Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG) has become a popular tool in criminal investigations since it first emerged in 2018. FIGG is a novel investigatory tool that has been applied to hundreds of unresolved cold cases in the United States to generate investigative leads and identify unknown individuals. Consumer DNA testing and the public’s increased curiosity about their own DNA and genetic ancestry have contributed significantly to the availability of human genetic data. Genetic genealogy has been a field of study/interest for many years, as both amateur and professional genetic genealogists use consumer DNA data to explore genetic connections in family trees. FIGG encompasses this knowledge by applying advanced sequencing technologies to forensic DNA evidence samples and by performing genetic genealogy methods and genealogical research to produce possible identities of unknown perpetrators of violent crimes and unidentified human remains. This combination of forensic genetics, genetic genealogy, and genealogical research has formed a new subdiscipline within the forensic sciences (Dr. Claire L. Glynn, UNH Department of Forensic Science). Delia D’Ambra sits down with Dr. Connie Bormans, Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, and Det. Gena Steward (ret.) to address the use of FIGG as a lead-generation tool for LEAs, the misconceptions associated with its use, and why the #DNAOptIn movement is so important. This virtual event was generously sponsored by FamilyTree DNA.

Click the following links to learn how to upload your DNA to the two public databases, GEDMatch and FTDNA. Don’t forget to select Opt-in to assist cold case investigations directly!

This event was recorded live on May 17, 2023.

Season of Justice is thrilled to be able to continue with part two of our discussion on Navigating Ethics in True Crime. Hosted by Project: Cold Case Founder and Executive Director Ryan Backmann is joined by our panel of industry leaders who are directly involved in family advocacy, law enforcement, and podcast research – providing their unique insights on navigating and valuing the ethical obligation to give back to families and victims.

This event was recorded live on October 11, 2023.