Defrosting Cold Cases (DCC) is my research website about unsolved homicides, missing persons, unidentified persons, wrongful convictions, and forensics as applied to cold cases. I also write book reviews.
What is a cold case?
A cold case involves an investigation where despite tremendous efforts of the authorities (often assisted by the media and civilians) no new leads are available. There is no new information. All existing avenues have been explored and are exhausted. The case is not closed as there is no statute of limitation on murder. However, the file isn’t looked at on a daily basis until new evidence or leads emerge or, a new technology that makes it possible to test well-preserved evidence for biological materials such as touch DNA.
Why do these cases need your attention?
Many cold cases have no web presence or a very limited one. With the Internet as a primary source for information gathering it is crucial that those developing new technologies can find these old cold cases. Also, many more people are now actively trying to help solve cold cases. So, it is imperative that as many cases as possible are online regardless of when they happened.
Many things have changed in the past few decades. Old but properly preserved evidence can be tested for DNA and it has already made a huge difference. Cross-referenced databases of the missing and the unidentified has provided us with answers as well. Now with familial DNA and ancestry databases, we can try to find relatives of the one who left their DNA at the crime scene.
To complicate matters, not every newspaper has online archives. If they do, often not all editions are online or they are hidden behind a pay wall. Many local newspapers are not available on microfilm in public libraries. That is why I started my own database. You can find about 350 cold cases there. It is free to the public so please use it as a resource.
The database is updated with every new post. However, not every case is updated in a new post. Sometimes just one detail changes such as a date to appear in court. I do not write a new post for that but just update the information in the database so check there first.
Every month, I feature a “Case of the Month.” This can be an unsolved homicide, a missing person, an unidentified person, new technology, or a wrongful conviction. You can find the link in the menu bar.
About the writer
I am not a law enforcement officer, not an investigative journalist, not part of the Vidocq Society, and not a private investigator. I also do not actively investigate cases. I leave that to the professionals. It is crucial that you understand that.
I am a true crime writer. I analyse old, unsolved cases and raise awareness for those cases as they need renewed media attention.
My background is in law (LL.M.), non-practicing, former law faculty at two major US state universities, and a member of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and associate member of the American Bar Association(ABA).
I would like to encourage you to share your thoughts about old unsolved cases on your own social media platforms. This way you too enhance the victim’s digital footprint. By sharing, liking, and retweeting these posts, the case reaches new networks, new connections, and new news feeds. Maybe one day the updates will pop up in the right person’s news feed. Someone who can actually help advance the case, and that is my goal.
Thank you to everyone who emails me with information, photographs, details to add to posts, pictures of old newspapers, corrections, and so much more. All this helps to improve the case details and ensures that the victims are not forgotten.
Thank you to all who encourage me and for your patience. No case gets dropped from my to-do lists. They are just very long.
The photograph on the right was taken by my friend Simon Folkard. He is a photographer located in Colchester, England. He is passionate about nature and animal welfare. You can follow him on Twitter at @FolkardSimon and his work is on Flickr.
I appreciate you all. You keep me going!
Alice de Sturler