Nearly 185,000 homicides since 1980 remain unsolved, yet with limited staff and resources, it is no surprise that law enforcement units place the bulk of their efforts on current cases where victims’ family members and the media demand answers. Cold Cases: An Evaluation Model with Follow-up Strategies for Investigators provides a comprehensive roadmap for digging those cold cases out of the file room and getting them resolved. Practical and concise, the book is an invaluable tool for police officers and detectives attempting to solve crimes that would otherwise be forgotten.
Evaluating the Case
Divided into three sections, the book begins with a historical perspective on how cases get to the point where it appears all investigative leads have been exhausted. It includes a chapter on understanding the process of homicide and those who kill — critical information for the homicide investigator. Next, the authors explain the evaluation model. They demonstrate the key elements of organization, thoroughness, and the value of the scientific method. This section validates theories of the crime, raises evidentiary issues and concerns, addresses the informational and behavioral aspects relative to the crime and the participants in the crime, and documents investigative strategies for future efforts on the case.
Investigating and Solving the Crime
The third section discusses the investigation that follows the evaluation. The book considers questions investigators must ask, including what should be looked at beyond the case file itself, and how the growth in technology since the date of the incident might provide new opportunities to uncover clues. This section also explores the choice of interview/interrogation techniques based on the behavioral aspects involved. Finally, the authors suggest how investigators can maximize their efforts and obtain not just an arrest, but a conviction.
Useful appendices include sample standard operating procedures from three different agencies to use as a guide for setting up a cold case unit and a list of additional resources a department may look to for assistance. By following the cold cases evaluation model in this volume, those charged with resolving long-forgotten crimes can increase their chance of an accurate resolution, or at least be able to say that everything that can be done has been done.