Computer-aided reconstructions and police sketches

This article got me to wondering: You very often see “computer-enhanced” photos of, say, missing people, or police sketches of wanted fugitives, but never get to see how well they match up with reality. The only thing I can think of was the Unibomber. I could have had the flyer in my hand, staring right at Ted Kazinsky, and I would never had recognized him. The police sketches looked more like Harry Reams.

I suppose police wouldn’t rely on these techniques if they didn’t work, and would further imagine that some validation studies have been done where, say, someone would describe an extant person to a police artist (presumably known to the person describing them, but not to the artist). Or you could subject a person’s photo to “computer aging” and compare it to the actual subject. More interesting (to me, anyway) are those cases where a face is reconstructed from a skull

Anyway, you get my drift. Does anybody know of any reasonably valid studies of these techniques? “Before” and “after” pictures, as it were?

Pages extolling the virtues of the E-Fit software: here and here. My ever-so-slight suspicion is that they’re able to cherry-pick from a huge number of poor matches.