Columbia College celebrates forensic science program's 10-year anniversary

Thursday, April 19, 2012 | 8:12 p.m. CDT; updated 9:16 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 19, 2012

COLUMBIA — The deaths of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Michael Jackson and Laci Peterson all left behind clues that investigators pieced together to try and uncover the truth. Some clues are microscopic and some are caught on film in broad daylight.

For 50 years, forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, 81, has meticulously studied these clues to the complicated circumstances around the most highly debated and mysterious deaths of the twentieth century. 


Wecht's presentations on Friday and Saturday will be held in Launer Auditorium at Columbia College. Saturday's panel discussion will be held in Dorsey Gymnasium. Parking is available at Rogers and Tenth streets.

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Wecht was invited by Columbia College as part of the Alumni Reunion Weekend to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the college's forensic science program Friday through Saturday.

Wecht will be giving two lectures on his experiences with high-profile cases — one at 7:30 p.m. Friday and one at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Friday's lecture will cover the historical cases Wecht has investigated, like the Kennedy assassinations and more. On Saturday the presentation will be about Wecht's work on more current deaths like Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.

Wecht will also be presenting at a faculty and alumni panel Saturday from 10 to 11:15 a.m. All three appearances are free and open to the public. 

"I really want to get across the importance of forensic investigators and the various types of work they do," Wecht said of his planned lectures. "From pathology, toxicology and psychology, all of that work they do is to make sure criminal and civil justice is served."

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