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Lee, Henry C

Lee, Henry C.

11/22/1938
CHINESE-AMERICAN
FORENSIC SCIENTIST

As one of the world's most famous international experts in forensic science , Henry C. Lee has assisted law enforcement organizations in the investigation of over 6,000 major cases around the world, served as a consultant for over 300 law enforcement agencies, and served as an expert witness in over 1,000 high-profile criminal and civil court cases. In fact, during the latter half of the twentieth century and into the present century, the legendary investigator has figured prominently in many famous cases including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy; the 1986 Connecticut "Woodchipper" murder in Newtown; the 1993 death of White House Counsel (for President Clinton) Vincent Foster, the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial; the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado; the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, the former Washington, D.C. intern; and the 2002 kidnapping of Salt Lake City teenager Elizabeth Smart.

Lee was born in China and grew up on the island of Taiwan. In 1960, Lee completed his degree in police science from the Taiwan Central Police College. That same year, Lee gained his first professional job at the Police Department Headquarters in Taipei, the largest city on Taiwan, where he attained the rank of captain. In 1965, he and his wife, Margaret, moved to the United States in order to complete additional education. Seven years later, in 1972, Lee earned a bachelor's of science degree in forensic science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. During this time, from 1968 to 1974, Lee was employed as a research technician within the biochemistry department at the New York University (NYU) Medical Center.

In 1974, Lee earned a master's of science degree in science, followed by a doctor's of philosophy degree in biochemistry a year later, both from New York University. Lee was promoted to research scientist within the biochemistry department for the NYU Medical Center, a title that he held from 1974 to 1975. After completing his advanced degree in 1975, Lee became employed by the University of New Haven at West Haven, Connecticut, where he created its Forensic Sciences program; became the director (19751979) of the Forensic Science Laboratory in Meriden, Connecticut; and worked as an assistant professor of the Criminal Justice Division (19751977).

Also, in 1975, Lee volunteered for the Connecticut State Police in order to develop its modern forensic laboratory and to introduce the concept of Major Crime Squad as a means for criminal investigation. In 1977, Lee became the director of the Center of Applied Research, a position that he held until 1980. He was promoted to associate professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven in 1977 and, in 1978, granted tenure as a full professor and chairman of the forensic science program. In 1979, Lee was appointed as the first chief criminalist for the state of Connecticut and then, a year later, became the director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory; both positions that were held until 2000.

In 1996, Lee became the director and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. Then, in 1998, Lee became the commissioner of the Connecticut State Police, Department of Public Safety, a position he held until 2000. Then, in June 2000, Lee became chief emeritus at the Division of Scientific Services within the Connecticut Department of Public Safety, a position he currently holds. Also in 2000, Lee became a research professor for the University of Connecticut and a distinguished professor of criminology at the Central Connecticut University.

Throughout his career, Lee completed various special training classes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Academy, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF ), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Connecticut State Department of Administrative Service, and other crime investigation organizations. Lee is also the recipient of many awards including the Distinguished Service Award from Taiwan National Police Administration (1962); the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Distinguished Criminalist Award (1986); the Distinguished Service Award from Connecticut Police Commissioners Association (1992), the Medal of Justice from the Justice Foundation (1996); and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Science and Engineer Association (1998).

Lee and his team of forensic scientists have made seminal contributions to the advancement of forensic science such as the enhancement of bloody fingerprints, creation of new methods for extracting DNA from samples, and estimation of blood volume at a crime scene. For his achievements and contributions in criminal investigations, biochemistry, material science, forensic science, fire and arson investigation, home and industrial security, and law enforcement, Lee has received many awards, citations, commendations, and medals from civic groups, governments, police departments, and universities around the world. Lee is especially known within the forensic science industry for his knowledge, experience, dedication, humor, and common sense; and with the extraordinary ability for finding the smallest clues that decide crucial trial cases. In 1992, Lee was elected as a distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Lee has either authored or co-authored about 30 books covering such areas as DNA, fingerprints, crime scene investigations, and trace evidence . His most recent books include Henry Lee's Crime Scene Handbook (2001), Blood Evidence: How DNA is Revolutionizing the Way We Solve Crimes (2003), and Cracking More Cases: The Forensic Science of Solving Crimes: the Michael Skakel-Martha Moxley Case, the JonBenet Ramsey Case and Many More! (2004).

Lee has also published over 300 articles in professional journals and conducted over 800 seminars and workshops covering such topics as DNA, fingerprints, crime scene investigation and reconstruction, criminal justice, and bloodstain pattern analysis. In addition, Lee has been the editor of several academic journals including being a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. In 2004, Court TV-The Investigation Channel premiered the new series, Trace Evidence: The Case Files of Dr. Henry Lee, which featured Lee discussing some of his most interesting criminal cases.

see also Bloodstain evidence; Crime scene investigation; Crime scene reconstruction; DNA; Kennedy assassination; Simpson (O. J.) murder trial.

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