16 Forensic Scientists Share the Most Shocking Discovery They Ever Made in the Lab

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Most of us have no idea how forensics and forensic science really works, but we definitely love to watch it on television. They always find the most interesting thing and crack the case (even if it’s just that there’s fat in the nonfat yogurt), but is Hollywood exaggerating, or do these people really lead exciting lives in their labs?

Well…I’m sure Hollywood is exaggerating, but according to these 16 scientists, they’ve definitely come across an interesting case or two in their time!

16. My mind is blown in the worst way possible.

A woman divorces man, they have a daughter. During the marriage, she files complaints saying he is abusive, but never follows through.

After divorce she files a complaint saying her daughter, a child, was raped by her ex.

The doctors found evidence that the girl was actually abused, but when samples were analyzed and everything investigated, they found out the mother was putting carrots in the girl’s vagina to simulate rape in order to keep her and not share custody.

15. These stories really run the gamut.

Years ago when I was working as a DNA analyst, our lab received a limp caesar salad from a local restaurant, take out box and all. Apparently, the guy who ordered the salad said that it was served with blood in it. The restaurant owner said not possible and that the customer must have bled in it so that he wouldn’t have to pay. The customer then decided to promptly bring his salad to our lab along with his DNA sample to prove that it wasn’t his. Turns out that it was and he unknowingly bled into his salad somehow.

Oh, there was also that one time a dad sent in a bunch of his daughter’s soiled feminine hygiene products in to the lab to test for semen.

Most shocking thing though was the time a bunch of DNA samples came. To make a long story short: one large vehicle, lots of drugs, two strung out horny couples, one condom being passed back and forth (yes…flipped inside out), and two pregnant couples uncertain about the paternity of each baby.

14. Because rape and death wasn’t enough…

We were investigating a case of a serial killer that raped the victims before murdering them, we discovered traces of pepper in the victims body.

I mean, he could have gotten a pepper condom in any sex shop but he just decided to put real pepper on the victims genitals.

Humans are without limits…

13. This is totally horrifying.

In doing my MSc in forensic pathology and anthropology, there is a final practical exam component. The examiner hauled in a large cardboard box. The type/size you would store documents in.

When dumped on the table, it looked like a broken plant pot. No piece was bigger than 1.5 inches diameter. He then goes “could you find all the pieces of example of bone and reconstruct it please?

Turns out it was a ~16 year old girl whose boyfriend had caved her head in with a stone and cut her into tiny bits before burying her in a field.

Only reason she was found was because her decomposing flesh caused the plants right hear her body to be oddly large and lush for a dry forgotten field.

12. So many questions that will never be answered.

I only just started here so what’s shocking to me is probably super minor but i had a decedent that died and was found with multiple bottles of isopropyl alcohol around her with straws in them. She literally was sipping isopropyl alcohol through straws. It obviously killed her, but i cannot get past the thought of that. How serious of an addiction do you have that doing something like that makes sense? Just the thought of doing that makes my stomach turn.

11. Funny how this can happen both ways!

That he WAS the father.

I’m a bookkeeper/billing guy at a clinic and we tested a baby to see if he was the father. Mom and dad were both blonde hair, wife had blue eyes, both looked super white. Kid was REALLY black. Was tested earlier and he didn’t have a condition, he was just black. The dad wanted a paternity test cause when you have two white parents and a black kid, raises some questions.

Turns out the mom had a black grandfather that didn’t show up in their skin and that she didn’t know about. Kid was biologically theirs, but just looked totally different.

10. I imagine not.

Not super shocking compared to others but the first time you see a computer covered in blood full of bullet holes it is moment you do not forget.

9. Obscure and nerdy, but cool.

I was working as a scanning electron microscope technician for the R&D branch of a private company when the head scientist gave me a unknown sample to cut up and investigate. There were a bunch of layers of paint on it and he wanted to know what elements were present. Most of the layers showed up as normal elements (O, Al, Cr, etc) but one layer had a peak at Pr (Praseodymium) which is so rare that I forgot that it was even an element. I thought I was going crazy but my engineer double-checked it and it was definitely there. Turns out that Praseodymium is used in certain military grade paints.

8. That’s gonna be an awkward staff meeting.

Not a scientist, but my last job involved scientific testing equipment and sending results to the legal team of the company.

Using an XRF gun I found that almost 50 percent of this large companies inventory contains above the legally allowed amount of lead, and various other harmful chemicals. (At a company whose product most people will touch on a daily basis).

The legal team sure had their work cut out for them.

7. That’s quite a revelation.

So, not forensics (entirely), and not me. I had a professor in college that was pursuing her doctorate while working at the Mayo Clinic.

Year after year, a man came in to be tested for a disorder/disease that killed his father at that very hospital. Year after year, he tested negative. But every year, he got tested in an effort to stay ahead of it. Because, genetics.

One year, he tested negative as usual, but the staff had an idea. They cracked open the archives, dug his father’s file out & put it next to his. DNA wasn’t even close.

Poor guy has no idea his late father was never his biological father at all. And the hospital has no right or obligation to inform him.

6. I am actually not interested to learn this thank you.

Not a forensics worker, but you may be interested to learn that bear semen is one of the most common things found in bodies of people who lay dead in forest areas.

5. I wish I was shocked.

My friend’s wife works in one. Getting blood samples from babies that tested positive for coke and meth was apparently fairly common, but the most recent shocking discovery was that the building’s plumbing was done in such a way that chemical disposal could backflow into the water fountain drain, and management didn’t really care.

4. That is just odd and unexpected.

This is my grandfathers story. While he was working in Forensics he had to take a body found at a bottom of a lake. After checking it out he apparently found that there was a hot wheels car lodged in the left lung. He assumed that they must have swallowed it while they were underwater.

3. I have no idea what’s wrong with some people.

Had the honor of discussing with a Soldier in charge of forensics for military examinations and he told us this story.

Death at a refuge camp. Woman. Apparently dead in her sleep. The persons in charge of cleaning her body noticed semen in her genital areas and gave the alarm. Due to the lack of personnel, the soldier had to help a doctor/Coroner determine the cause of death.

Heart failure. No signs of violence. At least 7 different male bioprints in her. They got very confused, and could tell something was off, but not much more due to the language barrier. They then had the idea of calling a fake soldier and real translator on site, to figure out what her family and countrymen were saying away from the identified translators ears.

Turns out her father was a pimp, and he was prostituting her and her siblings for money under threats. There was a full network on camp he operated, and he had an ABSURD amount of cash hidden on him when he was arrested.

He is now in jail in his country of origin, and his family have been offered protection by our government, but I dunno much else beyond that.

Edit: forgot to mention: the death was of natural causes. She had a birth defect on her heart. However, the doctor said post discovery of the prostitution ring that her intense “work schedule” might have, for lack of a better word, “worn it too early”. She was in her early twenties, and her sisters were in the same age range.

2. This is entirely too little information.

I found some weird organisms living in a mixture we made.

They weren’t usual but when we checked them in a few days they were gone.

1. Pretty crazy to see outside of a textbook, I’m sure.

I attended an autopsy where the subject being examined had one large kidney that extended to both sides of his body instead of having 2, one on each side of his body.

I can’t decide whether to laugh or gag – just the way I felt in the opening five minutes of every episode of Bones!

How would you have responded to these? I bet not so calm!