Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Forensics expert visits Cerritos, explains work to students

A conference was held at Cerritos College led by a guest speaker, expert witness in forensics identification, Douglas Wyler, Saturday in the Health Sciences building.

The presentation started at 10 a.m. and went on for two and half hours where Wyler showed the different areas of what it is to work in the forensics field.

Invitations were sent out to more than 66 students in the Paralegal Department program, but since the conference was hosted on a Saturday, between 40 and 50 students attended.

Although the room still had more space for students to attend, the presentation started on time and Wyler started off by presenting the different confidential cases that he’s worked on the field of forensics and dentistry.

One of the students who was able to attend the conference was paralegal major, Sophia Arias, who commented on the interesting parts of the presentation on forensics identification.

“Overall, I liked learning about the fundamentals of forensics-anthropology, and how through DNA and teeth, there are just so many ways that you can identify a body and solve cases,” Sophia said, referring to the information that fascinated her the most.

Wyler has worked in the the areas of DNA, digging up the bones of bodies and mass disasters, such as the Cerritos plane crash in 1986. Wyler has also used his expertise in identifying the graves of unidentified bodies from the Bosnian genocide.

The slides from the various cases came from field work of searching for bodies, investigating the carcasses and the study of bones, astounded some of the students that had attended.

“I think that field is very important to the human race, in terms of identifying people. I know it’s hard – as he showed when he was in Bosnia, the major amount of people that have to be identified so, families can come together and grieve as one.” paralegal major, Silvana Cutre said.

Wyler has worked in a very broad field that has allowed him not only to use his profession as a forensics identifier, but also use his expertise as a dentist.

One of the major highlights of his career as a dentist and forensics identifier was a case that he worked on, that was made into a special on the A&E network, titled, “Cold Case Files.”

In the documentary, he was presented as a dentist who made a major breakthrough on a 26 year-old case on a young boy named James Trotter, who vanished out of nowhere.

“It’s really difficult to imagine his mother’s feelings for all the time that he was gone. To me, every time the phone rang, it was information coming in,” Wyler said about the highlight of the case.

The cases that Wyler displayed inserted a direction that gave the students a wider perspective of what it is to work in the field of forensics and involvement with law.

But it also took notice of how there are certain people who are willing to take the oath and devote themselves into the analysis of forensics identification.

Paralegal Director of the Law Department Mary C. Pribble, who is a patient of Wyler Dentistry practice, asked Wyler to come to Cerritos College as a guest speaker for the Law Department.

“I think when you see it visually it actually impacts you, especially when you see the bodies and what takes place. I admire somebody who can do that, I don’t think I can do it, but I admire people who can,” Pribble said.

Wyler also works as an instructor for the LAPD Homicide Detectives and teaches students about his field of work by lecturing at colleges and universities.

Editor’s note: Some factual errors have been corrected since this article was originally published.

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Forensics expert visits Cerritos, explains work to students