Cold case investigation is a growing concern due to increased numbers of unsolved cases and pop culture appeal. This paper will walk you through what a cold case investigation is, how one begins, and factors such as the use of volunteers can effect the outcome of a cold case investigation. Each year the number of unsolved cases in the U.S. goes up, but with limiting funding and lack of manning something has to be done to keep the numbers down. A dedicated cold case unit is the best answer to this problem.
Cold Case Investigation Approximately one-third of all homicides in the United States are not cleared within the first year of being committed. These cases are dubbed cold cases after active investigation has been terminated for any of several reasons. If investigators lose the trail or cannot come up with enough evidence, witnesses, or a suspect the case may be closed. More important or high publicity cases may become a priority and with lack of a trail a case is closed. These cases can be placed on a back burner until time and manning is available to conduct a more thorough investigation and continue where previous investigation left off. The low clearance rate has also been attributed to the number of experienced detectives, changes in resources, deterioration of quality of investigation, and escalation of other related crimes. The means of conducting a cold case investigation vary greatly from that of an ongoing investigation and may even be conducted by people not employed by the original agency handling the case.
Resurrecting a Cold Case Investigation After a case has been dubbed a cold case, it may take several months to even years before it is re-opened for investigation. Some times the original investigator may feel a desire to re-open the case or new evidence or witnesses may come to light offering up a direction for investigators to follow. Other times it requires others not
References: Leonard, G.J., Gerard, F.D., & Camille, D.B. (2005) Resurrecting cold case serial homicide investigations. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 74(8), 1-7. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/204129494?accountid=8289 Napolean, C.R. (2009) Cold case investigation units. TELEMASP Bulletin, 16(1), 1-10. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198013843?accountid=8289 Regensburger, D. (2011). Law enforcement volunteers: An essential tool in the investigation of cold case homicides. Sheriff, 63(3), 22-24. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/869520529?accountid=8289