Cradle to Cane: Investigation of Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims

Cradle to Cane: Investigation of Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims

This webinar originally occurred on March 21-23, 2017
Duration: 14 hours


In 2017, the National Institute of Justice, Charleston Southern University, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, and the Shaken Baby Alliance worked together to create and host “From Cradle to Cane: Investigation of Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims.” This two-day conference, held in Charleston, SC, focused on violent crimes against our most vulnerable populations – children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

The audience for this conference consisted of law enforcement, first responders, death scene investigators, social workers, medical providers, and domestic violence specialists. Topics for the conference included specific case studies, the impact of abusive head trauma, the forensic pathology of child abuse, aspects of human trafficking, and the types of elder abuse.


We are thrilled to offer ABMDI Continuing Education Credits to those who attend the event virtually. There will be up to 13 hours and 40 minutes of Continuing Education ABMDI Credit hours available. ABMDI Credits will be calculated by total time spent watching.

We are unable to administer CE credit to users watching in groups. In order to receive your CE credits, you must be logged in to our learning ecosystem under your own name. If you are not logged in under your own name, you will not receive CE credits.



Tiffany's Story: The Impact of Abusive Head Trauma on the Family
Presenter: Bonnie Armstrong | Co-Founder & Executive Director, The Shaken Baby Alliance

Over the twenty years following the tragic abuse of her child, Bonnie Armstrong has worked tirelessly to pursue justice, support victim’s families, and prevent child abuse in its many forms. Through case consultation, legislative lobbying, and the development of forensic training programs, Armstrong and The Shaken Baby Alliance seek to end child abuse. In her introduction, Armstrong shared the story of her child’s abuse at the hands of the baby’s father and the impact that The Shaken Baby Alliance makes in the fight against abuse.

The Poison of a Mother's Love: The Hope Ybarra Investigation of Medical Child Abuse
Presenter: Inv. Mike Weber | Tarrant County (TX) District Attorney's Office

Munchausen Syndrome by proxy is  rare but debilitating for both the parent and the victim. Due to its rarity, investigating and proving the existence of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy is exceptionally difficult. In this presentation, Mike Weber of the Tarrant County, TX, District Attorney’s Office explained how he collected evidence for the case of Hope Ybarra.

Game Over: The Prosecution of Mel Hall, New York Yankee Sexual Predator
Presenters: Kim D'Avignon, JD | Tarrant County (TX) District Attorney's Office & Chaz Easterly | Survivor

Former Major League Baseball player Mel Hall is known for many things, but his athletic career is shadowed by a severe crime: preying on underage girls. In 2009, Hall was convicted of three counts of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. In this presentation, survivor Chaz discussed her personal story and the methods Hall used to manipulate her family into trusting him.

Human Trafficking Including Dental Aspects
Presenter: John P., "Jack" Kenney, DDS, MS, D-ABFO

Identifying victims of human trafficking has a unique set of obstacles, often compounded by language barriers or the victim’s unwillingness to work with law enforcement. Uncovering even the most basic information about victims, both alive and dead, can be a challenge. John P. Kenney, D.D.S., discussed a method for using teeth to determine the ages of unknown victims in this presentation.

Forensic Entomology Overview
Presenter: Neal Haskell, Ph.D. | Forensic Entomology Consultant, Rensselaer, IN

Entomology has a multitude of uses when it comes to forensic investigation. Whether investigators are estimating post-mortem interval or trying to understand damage dealt to a corpse after death, insects and their behaviors may provide clues or missing information. In this presentation, Neal Haskell, Ph.D., discussed specific case studies and how forensic entomology aided these investigations.

Forensic Pathology of Child Abuse (Part 1 & 2)
Presenter: Jamie Downs, M.D. | forensX, LLC

These presentations highlight specific case studies from a pathologist’s perspective. Jamie Downs, M.D., discussed several topics, including best practices for identifying child abuse and the difference between manner of death and cause of death.

Elder Abuse, Domestic Violence, & Special Needs Victims
Presenter: Jamie Downs | forensX, LLC

The elderly and those living with special needs are two of the most vulnerable populations in our society. As such, additional care and knowledge is necessary to investigate these cases. Jamie Downs, M.D., provided detailed case studies, best practices for investigating these cases, and other noteworthy topics in this presentation.

Forensic Investigative Techniques & Case Consultations
Presenters: Jamie Downs, M.D. | forensX, LLC & Bonnie Armstrong | The Shaken Baby Alliance

In the final presentation of the day, Bonnie Armstrong and Jamie Downs, M.D., speak with investigators about case consultation and evidence collection techniques. Topics include: photography, search warrants, multidisciplinary teams, and the information that can be gained from an autopsy.

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice nor those of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

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