Since 1980, the U.S. has recorded 248,933 unsolved homicides, and the number is growing ominously each year. An expert on cold-case investigations writes that a forthcoming federal “Best Practices Guide” offers a path forward—if police are willing to take it.
A Utah law that created a statewide database of killings and disappearances that have gone unsolved for at least three years has been bolstered by an offer of a cash reward for information that solves or leads to convictions in any of the 200 such cases in the state.
ByErin H. Kimmerle, Thomas C. McAndrew and James Markey |
A federally funded database called NamUs provides free forensic and analytical resources for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases. But unless all states make it mandatory for use by local authorities, its full potential won’t be realized, say three Florida researchers.
After a murder conviction is overturned, how eager are prosecutors to reexamine the evidence and find the real killer? A journalist who investigated 263 vacated cases around the nation since 2006 says it happens rarely.
Time is the most important resource for detectives examining the thousands of “cold cases” accumulating on police files since 1980. In the interest of public safety, mayors and police chiefs should make sure they get it, says a former deputy chief coroner.
The murder rate in 2016 was up nationally. But that’s not the worst of it. The unsolved rate of homicides is also on the rise, and that means every year, there are more people who get away with murder than the year before.