Sunday, March 20, 2011

7 Allies that Help Solve the Toughest Cold Cases

Allies that Help Solve Cold Cases

Old Fashioned Detective Work and a Little Luck

By Joseph Giacalone 

Recently, the Sarasota Police Department released information regarding a 1959 cold case murder.  In 1994, a man was in a bar and was crying.  When the bartender asked what was wrong, he confessed to her about a murder that he committed when he was a young man.  The name he mentioned in the conversation was "Walker."  The man's grief had finally overwhelmed him.

When the police looked into the matter, they discovered a quadruple homicide of the Walker family six days before Christmas in 1959.  Unfortunately, the police were unable to find this man again and the case remains unsolved.  However, this is one of the breaks that cold case detectives often hope for. Cold cases are extremely difficult to investigate because breaks are often rare.  There is a reason why the case is cold, i.e. lack of physical evidence, witnesses, etc. Investigators must dig for answers and develop "Allies" to help solve the case. 
Here is a list of the 7 Allies that help solve the toughest cold cases:

  1. Relationship changes
  2. Witnesses are no longer afraid to testify
  3. Arrested persons need help with the Criminal Justice System
  4. Guilt/remorse by the suspect/witness
  5. Perpetrator finds religion
  6. Offender re-offends
  7. Improvements in Forensic Science
A cold case investigator can only control numbers one (1) and two (2) - the others rely on the suspect themselves, other people, or on science. Initial investigators often develop a list of possible suspects or perhaps only one, but is a good starting point to launch a new inquiry into the case.  Relationship changes require the investigator to dig deep into a suspect's past. There is nothing better than finding an old girlfriend - "Hell hath no fury.." At the time of the incident, this person would have stone walled the investigation, but now after possibly being treated badly by him, may seek revenge and provide some useful information.  If your suspect doesn't have a new girlfriend, just invent one.  The investigator should use anything to get the conversation started. 

In addition, investigators should grab the initial list of witnesses and track them down.  A re-interview may uncover surprising leads and new information.  Years of guilt, fear and anguish over the matter may finally make witnesses come forward and all investigators need to do is ask!  This may involve some traveling to different states, so plan your trips accordingly.  However, in my experience I have found that most people still live in the same general vicinity.

1 comment:

  1. These are good points of interest here - yes, I have found people to still live in the same general area/vicinity after many years - 20 or more - resources such as public records - land and realty records - can give ownership name(s), and date(s). Courthouse Records are important also - looking back into backgrounds, criminal/civil and domestic cases from the past.