The Digital SAFE Zone

Curriculum Vitae for

Dawn McCarty

M.CJ, MBA.Cy, FDE Consultant

Professional Summary

A Forensic Document Examiner consultant with evidence management experience in criminal justice and a strong foundation in cybersecurity. Expert in document authentication, forgery detection, and handwriting analysis and training, backed by degrees in Criminal Justice and Computer Science, along with an MBA in Cybersecurity.

Recognized for a unique skill set that effectively bridges traditional forensic document examination with modern digital imaging. Notable for influencing positive outcomes in legal disputes, often leading to case resolutions prior to court proceedings due to the credibility and authority of the forensic evidence provided. Adheres to a strict ethical framework, ensuring precision and confidentiality in all investigations.

A respected figure, contributing to the advancement of forensic document and digital examinations through continual professional development, mentorship, and educational initiatives.

Core Competencies

  • Forensic Document Examination: Expertise in document authentication, forgery detection, and handwriting analysis, with a focus on uncovering document alterations.
  • Digital Imaging Techniques: Expertise in utilizing digital imaging for forensic analysis, including overlay techniques, slant and spacing analysis, and anomaly detection.
  • Magnification Analysis: Skilled in using magnification processes to identify discrepancies in documents, such as misaligned text indicating alterations.
  • Ink and Print Analysis: The ability to discern visible differences in ink types and printing methods is crucial for verifying the authenticity of documents.
  • Case Influence and Resolution: Demonstrated ability to influence case outcomes favorably before trial through detailed and credible forensic analysis.
  • Ethical Practice: Committed to the highest standards of ethics and integrity in all investigative processes.
  • Professional Training and Mentorship: Experience in training and mentoring emerging professionals and law enforcement officers in the field.
  • Client Relations and Consultation: Strong capabilities in client communication and providing specialized forensic consultation.
  • Legal Acumen: Familiarity with legal procedures and adeptness at preparing reports and findings for potential legal proceedings.
  • Interdisciplinary Knowledge: Integrating knowledge from criminal justice, computer science, and digital forensics to enhance document examination methodologies.

Top Ten Professional Experience Cases

Forensic Document Examination JonBenet Ramsey High-Profile Case

  1.  Forensic Document Examination JonBenet Ramsey Ransom Note
    • Forensic Examination comparison of Gary Oliva’s writing and the Ramsey Ransom Note (2023):
    • Peer Review July 10, 2023 for: Mozelle Martin
    • Key Responsibilities:
      • Conducted a detailed forensic analysis of the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note.
      • Compared the ransom note with writings of Gary Oliva to evaluate potential authorship.
      • Utilized advanced digital imaging techniques to analyze handwriting styles and document characteristics.
      • Investigated linguistic patterns and specific phrases used in the ransom note and compared them with known writings of Gary Oliva.
    • Significant Outcomes: JonBenet Ramsey Case Analysis
      • Identification of Probable Author: Conducted an in-depth forensic examination of the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note, leading to the identification of Gary Oliva as a probable author based on handwriting analysis and document comparison techniques.
      • Media Coverage and Public Presentation: Presented the findings in a comprehensive and accessible manner, leading to significant media interest and public discourse.
        • CourtTV Appearance: Shared detailed result findings in a video segment on CourtTV, hosted by Vinnie Politan, effectively communicating the forensic analysis and its implications to a broad audience.
        • Widespread Media Attention: Received extensive coverage in major media outlets, including:
        • The SUN US: Featured an article detailing the forensic analysis and its conclusions.
        • Daily Mail: Provided comprehensive coverage of John Ramsey confirms the findings proves his wife’s innocence.
        • The Mirror: Highlighted the significance of the findings in the context of the ongoing investigation.
        • Western Journal: Discussed the forensic approach and the identification of Gary Oliva as a probable author.
        • Knewz: Covered article detailing the forensic analysis and its conclusions of the findings on the case.
    • Contribution to Ongoing Investigation: The findings added a crucial dimension to the ongoing investigation, fostering further discussion and analysis among experts and the public.

Additional High-Profile

Forensic Document Examination Cases

2.  Kirby Carpenter Case – National Taskforce (2023)

    • Forensic Document Examiner – In collaboration with:
      1. The National Taskforce

3.  BTK Serial Killer (Dennis Rader) Serial Killer Investigation (2023)

    • Forensic Document Examiner – In collaboration with:
      1. The National Taskforce
      2. US Attorney

4.  Zodiac Killer Investigation (2014-Present)

    • Forensic Document Examiner – In collaboration with:
      1. The National Taskforce
      2. US Attorney
      3. Kelly Snider of Find Me
      4. Sheila Van Zant

Private Clients

5.  Use Case: Court qualified on Will Dispute

  • Client: Daughter of deceased.
  • Role and Responsibilities: Engaged to provide expert forensic document examination in a will dispute case for a private client.
  • Forensic Analysis:
      • Conducted a detailed analysis of the contested will and related documents.
      • Utilized advanced document examination techniques to scrutinize the text alignment and consistency within the will.
  • Key Findings:
      • Identified a critical discrepancy where one line of the will did not align with the rest of the document, indicating an alteration.
      • These findings provided concrete evidence that questioned the authenticity of the will.
  • Court Proceedings:
      • Accepted as a qualified expert to testify in court regarding the forensic analysis and findings.
      • As I approached the stand to present the evidence in court, the client’s attorney provided my report to the opposing attorney, which resulted in the opposing party withdrawing their claim to the will.
      • The case resulted in an out-of-court settlement favorable to the client, influenced significantly by the forensic evidence presented.
  • Professional Impact:
      • Demonstrated the ability to apply forensic expertise effectively in a legal dispute.
      • Contributed to a significant outcome in a high-stakes legal case, showcasing the real-world application of forensic document examination skills.


6.  Mexico Child Kidnapping Case

    • Client: Mexican Attorney General’s Investigation Unit through Ceninti and IALEIA – Mexico

7.  ISD/Dutch Kidnapping Case

    • Client: Investigator Ian Carter

8.  Written Opinion of Authenticity

    • Client: Ari B. Gould, Attorney at Law

9.  Anonymous Notes Analysis

    • Client: Chief Don Crist, Texas

10. High-Conflict Divorce

    • Client: Mother seeking to show schoolboard that custody papers have been altered

Educational Background

  • MBA in Cybersecurity
  • Institution: American Business & Technology University (ABTU)
  • Year of Graduation: 2020
  • A rigorous program that blended the disciplines of technology and management, equipping me with advanced knowledge in cybersecurity strategies and practices.

Master’s in Criminal Justice – Focus on Crime Scene and Evidence Management

  • Institution: Colorado Technical University (CTU)
    Year of Graduation: 2010
  • Academic Acievement: Honorary Dean’s List
  • Specialized in the management of crime scenes and evidence, with comprehensive studies in forensic science applications within the criminal justice system.

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Focus on Victimology Psychology

  • Institution: Colorado Technical University (CTU)
  • Year of Graduation: 2009
  • Academic Achievement: Honoary Dean’s List & Cum Laude
  • An in-depth study into the psychological impacts of crime on victims, providing a deep understanding of victimology within the criminal justice framework.

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Information Systems

  • Institution: Benjamin Franklin University (Now part of George Washington University)
  • Year of Graduation: 2009
  • Acquired a strong foundation in computer science principles and information systems, enabling the integration of technology with forensic document examination.

Certifications and Professional Development

  • Digital Enhancement Imaging and Fingerprinting
    • Institute: Miami Dade Police Department (40 Hours) – Miami, FL
    • Year Completed: 2009
    • Details: This comprehensive program, conducted by the Miami Dade Police Department, focused on the advanced techniques of digital imaging and fingerprint analysis. The curriculum was designed to equip participants with practical skills for accurate identification and analysis in forensic scenarios, emphasizing the integration of traditional fingerprinting methods with modern digital technology.
  • Certified Document Examiner
    • Institute: Forensic Handwriting Institute (FHI) (formerly CFP)
    • Year Completed: 2006
    • Details: Completed core competency training for conducting forensic document examinations, encompassing techniques for handwriting analysis, document authenticity, and fraud detection.
  • Certified Law Enforcement Trainer
    • Institute: Forensic Handwriting Institute (FHI) (formerly CFP)
    • Period: 2006 – 2009
    • Course Certifications:
      • Train LEO & other FHI trainers on Forensic Handwriting Courses:
      • Questioned Documents & Anonymous Notes
      • Detecting Drug Use
      • Detecting Lies
      • Hidden Language of Sexual Abuse
      • Progression of Suicide
      • Expression of Violence
  • Advanced Handwriting Analysis Certification:
    • Institute: Forensic Handwriting Institute (FHI) (formerly CFP)
    • Period: 2006 – 2009
    • Course Certifications:
      • Hidden Language of Sexual Abuse: Educating law enforcement on subtle communications and signs related to sexual abuse cases.
      • Progression of Suicide: Training in recognizing behavioral patterns and warning signs leading to suicide.
      • Expression of Violence: Providing insights into the manifestation of violence and aggressive behaviors.
      • Detecting Drug Use: Techniques for identifying signs and symptoms of drug use among suspects and individuals in custody.
      • Uncover the Truth: Advanced interrogation techniques and truth-detection strategies.
      • Class Clown or Killer: Profiling and understanding behaviors that may indicate a propensity for violence in youths.
  • Professional Development Certificates:
    • Period: 2006-2009
      • Homeland Security: Details: Training focused on national security measures, emergency response, and counter-terrorism strategies.
      • Change Management: Details: Learned methodologies for managing change within organizations, particularly in law enforcement and security settings.
      • Corrections Technician: Details: Developed skills pertinent to correctional facilities operations, including offender management and rehabilitation strategies.
      • Crime Scene Investigations: Details: Gained expertise in crime scene processing, evidence collection, and forensic analysis.
      • Domestic Violence: Details: Acquired insights into the dynamics of domestic violence, intervention techniques, and victim support services.
      • Juvenile Delinquency and Victim Services: Details: Specialized in approaches to juvenile delinquency, prevention programs, and providing services to young victims of crime.
      • Law Enforcement Skills: Details: Enhanced law enforcement competencies, including patrol procedures, traffic enforcement, and community policing tactics.
      • Legal Studies and Court Processes: Details: Studied the intricacies of legal systems, courtroom procedures, and the roles of various legal professionals.

Lectures, Publications, and Media Appearances

Conferences, Seminars, and Lectures Attended:

    • NADE Annual Seminar – 40 Hours – Tucson, AZ
    • Photography and Imaging Workshops – 4 Hours + 20 Hours with Dr. Larry S. Miller, Ph.D., CDE, BC-BFDE – East Tennessee State University
    • Book Smarts for the Document Examiner – 4 Hours – Featuring the QDE Index
    • Intro to Business Law – Colorado Technical University Lecture (10 Hours) – Colorado Springs, CO
    • Forensic Document Exam Class – Katherine Koppenhaver (16 Hours) – Baltimore, MD


Selected Topics from Conferences and Seminars:

    • Print Process Identification for Forensic Document Examiners – Joseph G. Barabe – McCrone Associates
    • Art and Artifact Forgery Identification – Graham P. Ospreay, FACFE, CSP
    • Academic Program of Study in Forensic Document Examination – Dr. Larry S. Miller, Ph.D., CDE, BC-BFDE – East Tennessee State University
    • Line Sequencing Using Microscopy – Graziella Pettinati and Jean Brodeur
    • Decoding Identifying Printer Information – Seth Schoen – Electronic Frontier Foundation
    • Instrumental Analysis in Forensic Document Examination – Joseph G. Barabe – McCrone Associates
    • Assessing Dynamic Features From Handwriting – Hans-Leo Teulings, Ph.D. and Heidi H. Harralson, CDE, BD-BFDE
    • Forgery Science: An Interactive Workshop – Bryan Found, Ph.D. – Victoria Police Forensic Science Centre, Documents & Digital Evidence Branch
    • Paper Analysis for Document Examiners – Jim Bradford – The Paper Private Eye
    • Extreme Grips – Jacqueline Joseph, CDE
    • Identity Theft, Frauds & Scams – Graham P. Ospreay, FACFE, CSP
    • Introduction to Solid Ink Printers – Cina Wong, CDE
    • Conducting An Observed Document Examination – Larry C. Lievscher, CDE
    • Working With the Media – Ruth Holmes, Diplomat
    • Book Smarts for the Document Examiner – Marcel B. Matley, CDE and Jacqueline A. Joseph, CDE

Professional Affiliations

  • Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS)
    • As an active participant in the WiCyS community, I am committed to fostering diversity and advancing the role of women in cybersecurity fields. My involvement with WiCyS aligns with my interdisciplinary approach, integrating forensic document examination with cutting-edge cybersecurity practices.
    • As a mentor, I guide and support the professional growth of women in the field, contributing to the development of future cybersecurity leaders.


  • Independent Forensic Document Examiner
    • In the forensic document examination community, I have chosen to maintain an independent status, focusing on the merit of individual competency over organizational affiliation. This stance supports an unbiased and ethical practice, free from the potential conflicts presented by the competing governing bodies within the FDE field.
    • My independent status allows me to mentor emerging FDE professionals about affiliations, with an agnostic lens, without the influence of organizational politics, fostering a learning environment based on skill and integrity.  They can then feel confident in choosing any groups they want to be a member of.

Mentorship and Leadership

Ongoing Mentorship with Kathy Koppenhaver

  • As needed mentorship with Kathy Koppenhaver for my forensic document examination cases, ensuring that I am applying the best practices and to remain proficient in the field.

Mentor for Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS)

  • Provide mentorship within the WiCyS community, emphasizing the empowerment and professional development of women in cybersecurity.

Mentor for Aspiring Forensic Document Examiners

  • Offered guidance and training to aspiring forensic document examiners, helping to cultivate the next generation of experts in the field. My approach to mentorship is rooted in the principles of competency, ethical practice, and the impartial application of forensic science.  
  • Mentorship was based on the Forensic Document Examination – Principles and Practice, written by Kathy Koppenhaver (2007).

Awards and Recognitions

Cybersecurity Woman of the Year (2021)

    • Awarded for outstanding contributions to the cybersecurity industry, recognizing exceptional leadership, knowledge, and dedication to the field by the Boss of the Ball.

Visionary Security Awareness Program Leader (2023)

    • Honored for innovative and effective leadership in the development and implementation of a security awareness program that has significantly enhanced organizational cyber resilience by The Cybersecurity Summit.

#1 International Bestselling Author

    • Achieved multiple bestseller recognitions for publications that contribute to the international discourse on security awareness, underscoring a commitment to excellence and thought leadership in the industry.

Additional Skills and Interests

Board Memberships:

  • SafeTeens Online
    • Board member for a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting online safety and digital literacy among teenagers, reflecting my commitment to the well-being and education of young internet users.
  • Kids Need Both
    • Board member of a non-profit organization focused on advocating for children’s rights and supporting families through the challenges of co-parenting, demonstrating dedication to community service and family welfare.

Leadership in Advocacy:

  • Founding Former Chair for the National Parents Organization, Florida Chapter
    • Pioneered the Florida chapter of the National Parents Organization committed to positive family outcomes, playing a key role in policy advocacy and program development for parents and children.


  • Founder of Securing Everything

    • Established a cybersecurity company with a mission to provide comprehensive protection services, showcasing my entrepreneurial skills and expertise in cybersecurity.
  • Deceive Me Not – A Branch of Securing Everything
    • Created a specialized division focused on Forensic Document Examination, Identity Theft, and Forgery. This initiative underscores my role as a vigilant protector against fraud and deception, bringing hidden truths to light.
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