Cold cases include missing or un-ID’d
persons as well as homicide victims
It was at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police meeting this year that Det. Sergeant Jason Moran of the Cook County, Illinois Sheriff’s Department touched on investigating cold cases when speaking on the topic “Advances in Police Techniques.”
“Most people think about an old, unsolved murder when they hear the term
cold case,” he said. “That is not wrong. But the idea that the term cold case only pertains to homicide is false.”
He explained that missing persons, unidentified deceased persons,
undetermined deaths and criminal sexual assaults also can become cold cases.
“It’s not fair to continue to leave these cases on a dark, dusty shelf. It’s wrong for the victims’ families and our communities,” he added.
Moran said there is hope — that old cases aren’t necessarily lost cases. He
outlined reasons why that is so:
• More and better forensic science and technologies can be leveraged.
• Relationships of witnesses and others can change over time, and sometimes in helpful ways.
• Jail and prison information can be exploited.
• Assigning new sets of eyes to a case file can reveal any first-time
investigative errors or disclose new leads.
“A person who went missing or was murdered 30 years ago is no less
important than someone who went missing today or was murdered today,” the detective sergeant concluded.
Cold Cases Fact
Roughly 40 percent of homicides in the U.S. from 1980 to 2016 remain
unsolved. That is an estimated 242,000 murder victims in the growing problem of unresolved criminal cases. (Reference: National Institute of Justice.)