In a 2019 Forensic Science International Synergy Journal article published by Elsevier, Forensic Criminologist Dr. Laura Pettler was named one of the most influential women in forensics in the world: a well-deserved award for her significant international contributions to criminal justice throughout her career.
Dr. Pettler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-professional psychology from Geneva College, a Master of Science degree in criminal justice specializing in forensic psychology and forensic science related to homicide investigation from Youngstown State University, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in public safety specializing in criminal justice focused on crime scene staging in intimate partner homicides from Capella University. Dr. Pettler has 12 years postdoc experience, research, and publication in staged homicide cases and 20 years post-graduate research, field experience, invention, and publication in bullet path and bloodstain pattern analysis and reconstruction in homicide cases.
The year 2022 marks Dr. Pettler’s 21th year in homicide. Dr. Pettler is a former North Carolina District Attorney’s Investigator where she worked death/murder scenes, along with carrying a caseload of up to 80 pending and 31 cold case homicide cases at one time. Dr. Pettler worked state-wide with more than 17 North Carolina law enforcement agencies and was the co-founder and director of North Carolina’s first and only Crime Scene Reconstruction & Behavioral Analysis Program, head of the district’s first Cold Case Task Force, and co-founder of director of its Richmond Community College International Forensics Institute. Dr. Pettler is recognized for her role as the investigator who "cracked" the "Black Widow Granny," case that resulted in the 2008 arrest of Betty Neumar (deceased 2011), a 76-year-old woman with five dead husbands and one dead son who is suspected in more than one of her husbands' deaths of which her 2022 Podcast “The Murder Room: Season 1 Black Widow” is based.
Dr. Pettler is the author of the third dissertation in the world on staging behaviors of death. scene stagers in homicide cases. Dr. Pettler has 12 years postdoctoral research, field experience, and publication in staging dynamics in intimate partner homicide hot and cold cases. Dr. Pettler is the author of Crime Scene Staging Dynamics in Homicide Cases, the first book in the world on staged homicides that sold 800 copies in its first eight months and is currently writing its second edition. Dr. Pettler has invented two death investigation methodologies, one taxonomy, and four matrices related to staged murder investigation and in 2014, she founded the Facebook Crime Scene Staging Awareness Initiative to build awareness about how failure to detect staged murders leaves violent offenders in society with opportunities to reoffend. In 2008, Laura co-invented Tubular Dowel Crime Scene Reconstruction of which its general concept was carried over and absorbed in her 2013 invention The Kaleidoscope System, which is carried by 11 forensic distributors and sold in more than 30 countries worldwide today.
Worldwide, Dr. Pettler has built and presented more than 186 times in forensic science and behavioral analysis, she has built 74 criminal justice and forensics-related academic courses, has taught 61 academic courses numerous times, and has published 28 homicide and forensics-related books/articles. In 2016, Dr. Pettler founded the LPA International Forensics Institute School of Forensic Criminology, an online continuing education center focusing on unique courses typically absent from traditional continuing education catalogs for CSIs, detectives, private investigators, coroners, attorneys, and students. Dr. Pettler serves on the Editorial Board of Sicurezza e’ Giustizia (Security & Justice) Magazine based in Rome, Italy.
Dr. Pettler is founder and CEO of Award-Winning firm Laura Pettler & Associates Death Investigations (LPA) whose mission is to leave the world better than we found it. LPA was voted “Best Private Death Investigations Firm 2021” by New World Report’s seventh annual Legal Elite Awards. In 2020, LPA was voted “Best Victim Centered Death Investigation Specialist 2020” by CORP Today Magazine, and 201 LPA won the “Scientific, Victim-Centered Death Investigation Specialist Award” by Acquisition International. Dr. Pettler is a licensed North Carolina and South Carolina Private Investigator and is a former South Carolina Deputy Coroner. Dr. Pettler also co-owns with her daughter, Alexis Pettler, Phoenix Media Group that houses all of their television, film, podcast, and music projects.
Dr. Pettler is an Expert Volunteer for the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute in Atlanta, Georgia and was the Vice President of The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases. In addition to her AISOCC Vice Presidency, Dr. Pettler served AISOCC's as its first Director of Development, a position created specifically for her and as one of AISOCC's first Honorary Review Board members. Additionally, Dr. Pettler was certified by the International Association for Identification as a Senior Crime Scene Analyst for 10 years, served the IAI as the Chair of the Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Subcommittee, served as a member of the Crime Scene Investigation Subcommittee, as a member of the Forensic Medicine Subcommittee for the Florida Division of the IAI's, and as the Editor for the North Carolina Division of the IAI, as well as having taught numerous workshops and lectures in crime scene reconstruction, staging, bloodstain pattern analysis, and victim-centered death investigation for the IAI and divisions of the IAI including the Central American Division in Costa Rica since 2007.
Dr. Pettler is the forensic criminologist for Emmy Winning tv show CSI Atlanta of which the cast and crew won for Outstanding New Series co-hosted by Karyn Green and Sheryl McCollum. Dr. Pettler was the host and co-executive producer of webTV show Notorious: True Crime Stories with Laura Pettler nominated in 2017 for Best Director by the International Academy of Web Television Awards. Additionally, Dr. Pettler was the Forensic Criminologist in seasons 8, 9, 10, 11 of internationally syndicated tv show the Nine-Time Emmy Award winning The Dr. Oz Show and regularly appears in numerous podcasts, at CrimeCon, on CourtTV, and on numerous true crime television shows on Oxygen, ID, Reelz, Starz, Spike, and other television networks.