Forensics

Mary Ann Cotton

In the mid-1800s, Mary Ann Cotton is believed to have poisoned as many as 21 people with arsenic, many of them her own children. She left a trail of bodies behind her everywhere she went, but it was her cavalier remarks that finally drew suspicion.

Frances Glessner Lee and Tiny Forensics

Many forensic investigation standards of today have roots in the work of a Chicago heiress who was more interested in crime scenes than high society. Her most notable contribution to the field came in the form of tiny homicide dioramas. Read the show notes here.

In the 19th century, Alphonse Bertillon standardized the mug shot and came up with a system of organizing police records; he also conceived a new way of identifying people. Tune in to learn more about the rise -- and fall -- of Bertillon's system.