Tuesday, January 15, 2013

LAVA and Esotouric continues arson murder series at Cal State LA Jan. 20

 Cal State Los Angeles Professor Donald Johnson, in association with
LAVA ­ The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and Esotouric, present a new
lecture / demo in the ongoing crime lab series, "Arson Murders and Fire
Death Investigation " hosted by Ed Nordskog, co-lead investigator in the New
Years 2012 Hollywood arson spree
WHEN: Sunday, January 20, 12:00pm-4:00pm
WHERE: The Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center (Cal State L.A.), 1800
Paseo Rancho Castilla, Los Angeles, CA 90032
COST: $36.50 per person, includes refreshments. A portion of the proceeds
from this event supports the research of Criminalistics graduate students at
Cal State Los Angeles.
ED NORDSKOG'S BOOK: Copies of "TORCHERED" MINDS will be available for
purchase at the event, $20 cash only. More info at
RESTRICTIONS: Due to the graphic nature of the presentation, children may
not attend.
PHOTOS: To see images from a previous crime lab workshop, visit

NEXT EVENT: On April 21, LAVA presents "Insights in Criminal Investigation
and the Secret World of Street Gangs" with LASD Team Leader and educator
Nick Guskos. For info, see http://lavatransforms.org/crimelabapril21
: http://lavatransforms.org/crimelabjan20 or call

 The City of Angels spent the 2011-2012 New Years holiday in a
state of fear, as a serial arsonist roamed the darkened streets, igniting
dozens of cars, carports and nearby buildings. To the relief of millions,
suspect Harry Burkhart was quickly arrested, there were no fatalities, and
the spree ended. What makes someone set fire to cars and buildings? What
twisted line of thinking drives an otherwise nondescript citizen to endanger
the lives of strangers? While he won't be speaking about this open case, on
January 20 you can join Ed Nordskog, co-lead investigator on the Hollywood
arson spree, for a fascinating afternoon of exploring "Arson Murders and
Fire Death Investigation," an in-depth presentation drawing on his own
casework and notorious, high profile cases. This all new program is a follow
up to Ed's sold out March 2012 presentation in the LAVA crime lab.

Turn on the TV today and odds are good you'll see white lab coats, DNA swabs
and magnified fingerprints on computer screens. CSI is hot stuff, in
fictional series ("NCIS: Los Angeles," "Bones," "Dexter," "CSI") and
documentary programming. But it's not often that the general public gets a
chance to tour a real crime lab with the forensic investigators and
educators who use its tools to solve crimes and develop new research

Leave it to LAVA (The Los Angeles Visionaries Association), the creative
consortium helmed by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the married couple whose
Esotouric bus adventures have transformed the guided tour experience, to
make a real-life CSI experience accessible to interested laypersons. Working
closely with one of LAVA's most intriguing Visionary members, Professor
Donald Johnson, they've developed a series of events highlighting the work
conducted at Cal State L.A.'s state-of-the-art Hertzberg-Davis Forensic
Science Center, presented through tours and short lectures from the
scientist/educators and graduate students who work there.

Since the program launched in October 2010, LAVA's popular lectures and
tours in the CSULA crime lab have included presentations on Phil Spector
trial trace evidence, the Patrick Tillman death investigation in
Afghanistan, a comparison of the 1950s Harvey Glatman case with the 1995
murder of Linda Sobek, the use of dental records to identify mass disaster
victims, and more.

A portion of the proceeds from this event supports the research of
Criminalistics graduate students at Cal State Los Angeles. Space is very
limited and pre-reservation recommended for this rare opportunity to tour
the crime lab, learn from experienced forensic investigators and educators,
and discover the real art and science of crime scene investigation.

"Arson Murders and Fire Death Investigation" is hosted by Ed Nordskog, an
active arson/bomb detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, and is a half-day exploration of the scientific investigation of
fire-related felony offenses, revealed through methods of evidence analysis,
profiling and select case histories. Attendees will also have an opportunity
to tour Cal State LA's state-of the-art teaching and research facilities in
the Criminalistics Department of the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science

This program will explore the extraordinary challenges of dealing with fire
death investigations. The destructive effects of fire and fire department
suppression operations greatly skew an already complicated death scene. In
addition to an in-depth a discussion of the Sandi Nieves case (Santa Clarity
resident convicted of asphyxiating her four daughters in their home in 1998,
then staging a fire to obscure her crime), the program includes discussion
of body dumps and staged suicides involving fire.

The presentation consists of two lectures from Ed Nordskog, with a related
breakout scientific workshop offering illustration of the concepts raised by
the lectures. Following the second lecture, attendees will have the
opportunity to purchase copies of Ed Nordskog's book "'Torchered' Minds:
Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists."

By the afternoon's conclusion, attendees will have a deeper understanding of
the real work that's done in the field by arson investigators, and the tools
and techniques used to interpret crime scenes for the benefit of
investigating officers and juries.

ABOUT ED NORDSKOG: Ed Nordskog is an active arson/bomb detective with the
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He has been a detective since 1990,
working specifically in the arson and explosives world since 1997. He has
conducted over sixteen hundred fire investigations and as of this writing
has personally arrested and interviewed over 250 persons who were convicted
of fire setting and related crimes. He has testified in court as a
recognized expert in this field on over fifty-five occasions. He has been
consulted by prosecuting attorneys on death penalty cases involving arson
and murder on three occasions. He has been personally involved in over
twenty serial arson investigations. The author has a master's degree in
emergency services management and is certified as a fire investigator by the
California State Fire Marshal and the California Conference of Arson
Investigators. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Arson
Investigation Course, the ATF Advanced Arson Investigation Course, the
Forensic Fire Death Investigation Course, and numerous other arson
investigation courses. He is involved in course development and teaches fire
scene investigation, major arson case investigation, serial arson
investigation, and arson murder/fire death investigation. He is a course
developer and instructor for the state of California's Arson and Explosives
Investigation Course. He is an instructor for the state of California's
Homicide Investigator's Course. In 2004, the author was named Arson
Investigator of the Year by the International Association of Arson
Investigators and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the International
Association of Special Investigations Units; both of these awards are for
his work as the lead investigator on a massive arson for hire scheme,
involving fifty-five burned properties. He has received over eighty-five
commendations, awards, and medals throughout his law enforcement career
related to successful criminal investigations. He is author of the book
"'Torchered' Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists"

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative
professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to
the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA's creative
partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their
Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

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