Jumpstart the Cold Case Files

Jumpstart the Cold Case Files

Jumpstart the Cold Case Files

By: Joseph Giacalone

Jumpstart the Cold Case files now! Homicide clearance rates continue to fall and violent crimes continues to rise in the United States. Now, more than ever, a focus on who is wanted for murder becomes an important task that may lead to a reduction in violence. Violence often begets violence as retaliation becomes common.

Every detective has one case that still haunts them. There were a number of cases that I wish we were able to solve during my tenure as the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad. We had a person of interest in most, but lacked the physical evidence, forensic evidence, confession, or eyewitnesses.

The Last Liaison

The cold case detective is the last liaison between the public and the police. Cold case investigators can build bridges back to the community. A new focus and a fresh set of eyes maybe just what the case needed. For family members, it provides a new sense of hope and direction.

Jumpstart the Cold Case Files

A new investigator brings with them a new point of view devoid of speculation and bias. There are many points to consider before taking on a new case. Here are a few jumpstarts to get you going:

  • Was DNA recovered ever submitted? Changes in the forensic technology landscape may help
  • Did the medical examiner take nail, hair, and swabs exemplars at autopsy? Submit these items for testing
  • Was there other evidence not submitted for testing? Ballistics, fingerprints, etc.?
  • Was everything documented in official reports? Notepads and “pocket litter,” can help determine what transpired
  • Will forensic genealogy help your case?

Enlist the Help of the Public

Cold cases need the public’s help. If there were that easy to solve, it would have been closed already. There are a number of jumpstarts an investigator can use to enlist the help of the public:

  • Media – television
  • Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.
  • Highway billboards
  • Crime Stoppers
  • Podcasts

Ideas to jumpstart the cold case files run the gamut. The imagination is the only thing holding an investigator back. Solving a cold case can be satisfying and provide much needed closure for the family.

One thought on “Jumpstart the Cold Case Files”

  1. I am a former detective with the Veterans Administration Police in Chicago. I don’t the background you have.

    However, I research missing persons and unsolved homicides. One that bugs me is the case, where the police don’t release the cause of death. This is supposedly to protect the investigation.

    Yet, we have others that have released the cause of death. I visit Iowa Cold Cases website. There were two murders in Des Moines, Iowa, one in the 1960’s and the other in 2001.

    There are no details to what happened except the man is dead at a location. Then ask for the public’s help. How can they help, if we don’t know what happened.

    We have no information if a suspicious vehicle was seen in the area, or someone heard an argument between the victim and a possible. Like we are supposed to pick up some sort of vibe.

    These are cases that are 10, 20 or 30 or more years old. Will, I come up with some tidbit, that came to me while sleeping.

    The same thing with stuff, that might be held back by the police. If after 10 or more years then we need to reevaluate these decisions.

    Also,we hear the police need the public s help. Yet, when someone calls, they get ignored.

    A number of years ago, I called a Philadelphia detective with the stuff about a theft. The guy asked me I was calling. I said I am the public and wanted to help. He for some reason did not get it.

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