Ep. 16 From Zookeeper to Death Investigator: An Insightful Journey with Amy Renfro

Forensics Found

03-08-2023 • 22 mins

Katharine Pope is bringing you another captivating episode into the world of death investigation. This week Kat is interviewing Amy Renfro. Straight from the trenches of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office in Fort Worth, Texas, Amy unveils her intriguing journey of transitioning from a zookeeper to a respected professional in the forensics field. Along with her academic background in biology and forensic science, Amy explains the significant role that mentorship within the office played in her success. She offers a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards that come with the job, underscoring the importance of real-world experiences over classroom learning.

Amy shares her journey into forensic genetic genealogy, shedding light on her ongoing program at the University of New Haven. She also touches upon her latest hobby of 3D printing while revealing the role her son's interest in gaming played in sparking this new interest. Additionally, she discusses the process of using GEDmatch for forensic genetic genealogy and the necessity of exploiting all possible avenues during the identification process. Don't miss out on this riveting exploration of these topics and a treasure trove of insights and advice on the world of death investigation.

Topics Covered

Medical Examiner's Office Career Path

3D Printing, Gaming, and Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG) or Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) or Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG)

Advice and Insights on Death Investigation

About Amy Renfro

I obtained my BS in Biology with an emphasis in Forensic Science in 2009 from the University of Texas at Arlington while working full time as an Investigative Clerk at TCME. I was hired as an Investigative Clerk in February, 2004.

I have taken numerous classes in Forensic Death Investigation including the NIJ funded, 40-hour class at OCME NYC with Ed Wallace over 10 years ago (I don’t remember the exact class date), Crime Scene Investigation training – 40 hours

I was promoted to Forensic Death Investigator soon after graduation and eventually promoted to Senior FDI, which is my current position. I have facilitated several different programs including Child Fatality Review and Current Trends programs that our office ran in the past (before Covid).

I have recently started a graduate certificate training program in Forensic Genetic Genealogy at the University of New Haven with Dr. Claire Glynn and staff. My goal is to help begin a FGG program at my office and help identify Doe cold cases in our office and assist local law enforcement with FGG for current and cold case work.

Amy Renfro, B.S., D-ABMDI

Senior Forensic Death Investigator

Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, Fort Worth TX

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*All conversations between guest and host represent the opinions of the participants and do not reflect official statements or facts from any represented agencies.

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