Sept. 7, 2005 Dr. Neal Haskell, internationally-known forensic entomologist, will be on St. Croix the end of this week to share his considerable expertise with students, law enforcement personnel and the public.
Haskell, who has assisted in more than 500 cases, including inspection of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, will meet from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday with high school students. The lecture will be held at Education Complex on St. Croix, but it is open to all public and private high school students in the territory, according to Ann Marie Gibbs, forensic science teacher at the complex and one of the event organizers.
On Saturday morning, Police Science students and the general public are invited to a lecture by Haskell beginning at 9 a.m. in the Evans Center, Room 401, on the University of the Virgin Islands' St. Croix Campus. The event will be video conferenced to the Teacher's Education Building, Room 213, on the St. Thomas campus.
Forensic entomology is the use of insects that inhabit decomposing remains to help in legal investigations. It is often used in crime investigations to detect how long human remains have been undetected, whether a corpse has been moved after death and the cause of death. But forensic entomology is also helpful in cases involving food contamination, drug trafficking, child abuse and neglect of the elderly. Forensic entomologists are most commonly called upon to determine the postmortem interval or time since death in homicide investigations, a release from the university said.
Haskell, a graduate of Purdue University, has served as an expert witness in state and federal courts and has testified in murder trials as the chief forensic entomology consultant. One of his most notable cases is the highly publicized Westerfield murder trial in San Diego, Cal., which involved the kidnaping and killing of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in 2002.
Diana Freas-Lutz, instructor of Introduction to Forensic Sciences at UVI, said Haskell will also provide training to members of the Virgin Islands Police Department and police departments on other Caribbean islands while in the territory. "Since there is no one else in the Caribbean with his expertise, it is of utmost importance that the various members of the law enforcement community take advantage of this training," Freas-Lutz said in the release.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Haskell is scheduled to conduct a workshop with members of the V.I. Police Department at the Evans Center on UVI's St. Croix campus. However, when contacted, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said he knew nothing about the workshop. But VIPD Detective Tony Hunt, supervisor of the Forensic Identification Section for St. Thomas and St. John heard about the seminar from his wife, who works at UVI.
"I am planning on attending," Hunt said. "Not as a representative of the Police Department."
Hunt said, "I want to find out as much as I can."
Hunt added, "Each area has different insects." Hunt said he planned to encourage other officers in his department to attend. "This is something that we can use."
Known as a pioneer of forensic entomology, Haskell is currently a professor of forensic science and biology at St. Joseph's College in Indiana. He is also a private international forensic entomology consultant to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across North America and Europe.
Haskell has been featured on television shows like the Discovery Channel's "The New Detectives," The Learning Channel's "Secrets of Forensic Science" and Court TV's "Lasting Impressions." He has authored several book chapters and books. His crime case stories have been featured in a number of books and in more than 150 news articles and other news media.
For more further information on Haskell's presentations, call 692-4110 or 778-6311 ext. 2625.
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