Cold cases are cases that have gone unsolved for a long period of time, often due to a lack of evidence or leads. These cases can be challenging to solve for a variety of reasons. Here are three reasons that cold cases are hard to solve:
- One reason is that the passage of time can make it difficult to gather reliable evidence. Physical evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA, may have deteriorated over time or been lost or destroyed. Witnesses may have moved away, forgotten details, or passed away, making it difficult to locate and interview them.
- Another reason is that cold cases may involve older technologies or forensic techniques that are no longer in use or are not as advanced as those currently available. This can make it difficult to analyze and interpret evidence, or to identify suspects using newer methods such as DNA analysis or facial recognition.
- Finally, cold cases may be challenging to solve because the investigation may have gone cold for a long period of time, meaning that there has been little or no effort to actively work on the case. In these situations, it can be difficult to pick up the investigation and make progress, as the case may have been overlooked or forgotten by law enforcement.
Overall, cold cases can be difficult to solve due to a combination of the passage of time, outdated technologies and techniques, and a lack of active investigation due to a lack of resources.
There are several states that have made significant progress in solving cold cases, often through the use of new forensic technologies such as DNA analysis. For example, the California Department of Justice’s DNA Laboratory has been instrumental in solving cold cases through DNA analysis. They have a dedicated unit called the “DNA-Cold Case Homicide Unit” which analyzes DNA evidence from unsolved homicides and missing person cases.
It’s important to note that solving cold cases can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and the success rate can vary widely depending on the specific case and the resources available to law enforcement agencies.
Many states have dedicated cold case units or task forces that focus on solving cold cases. These units typically consist of law enforcement officers who are specially trained in investigating cold cases and are responsible for reviewing and reinvestigating unsolved crimes.
Some examples of states that have dedicated cold case units include:
- California: The California Department of Justice’s Cold Case Homicide Unit is responsible for reviewing and investigating unsolved homicides and missing person cases in the state. The cold case unit recently helped solve a 1973 cold case murder of Leslie Marie Perlov and was able to link her murder to that of serial killer John Getreu.
- Florida: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Cold Case Advisory Commission is responsible for reviewing and investigating unsolved homicides, missing person cases, and unidentified remains cases in the state. The 1994 murder of Lillian Decloe was recently solved by the work of the Pompano Beach Police Department thanks to a Familial DNA match that identified the killer as Johnny Mack Brown.
- Texas: The Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides/Cold Case Investigations Program is responsible for reviewing and investigating unsolved homicides and missing person cases in the state. They recently solved the 1988 homicide of Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs.
These are just a few examples of states that have dedicated cold case units. It’s important to note that the specific responsibilities and resources of these units can vary from state to state. We know that lack of resources is a big reason that homicide cases go unsolved. Now is the time for law enforcement agencies to look at how they can reallocate resources to address the more than 250,000 unsolved homicides in the United States.