The FAQ page tries to answer most questions about me and the website. You can always use the contact page to email me.
Are you a police officer? A private investigator? An investigative journalist?
No. I do not actively investigate cases. I leave that to the professionals. I am a true crime writer with a background in law and human rights. I am a member of the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) and the American Society of Criminology (ASC).
Are you part of the Vidocq Society?
No, my Twitter handle (and for some time my pen name) refer to Eugène François Vidocq (July 24, 1775 – May 11, 1857) who went from criminal to criminalist. He became founder and first director of the Sûreté Nationale in France. He is one of the founding fathers of what we now know as criminology. He is also regarded to be one of the very first private detectives.
After years of crimes and incarceration, Vidocq became a police informant, started the first plain-clothes brigade, experimented with disguises to go under-cover, was the first to make a plaster cast impressions of shoe prints to show in court, and set up a private detective agency. He is a very colorful character so check him out online.
To answer another FAQ here, there is confusion about the difference between a criminologist and a criminalist. Simply put, a criminologist researches crime, crime prevention, criminals, and punishment. A criminalist researches how to apply scientific principles to ensure that evidence can be introduced in court.
Can you reopen a cold case?
No. Only the authorities can re-examine an unsolved case e.g. police or prosecution.
Is Defrosting Cold Cases an organization?
No, it is my brainchild. It is just me here.
How big is your staff?
Defrosting Cold Cases is my work, so really, it is just me. You cannot come to my offices and you cannot intern here either. I am very sorry about that. Everything here was created and written by me. If a post was written by someone else it is indicated as a guest blogger’s post. You can find them all here.
I love your work. Can I quote it, copy it, use it?
Fair use is encouraged but if you use my work please mention that you found the information on my website. Use as credit: Defrosting Cold Cases, add the link, and use as author: Alice de Sturler. I do the same for you.
As you can see at the bottom of the page, all rights are reserved. Remember that if you use my photographs (especially the grids) to include the credits as well. We regularly check the web using Copyscape and we will call you out on ‘unfair’ use.
Note that if you take a victim’s picture and then read on YouTube my entire case analysis you are still violating copyright laws.
Do I need to pay to use the database?
Do you review books?
Yes, but I only review select works of true crime, crime fiction, and historical fiction/mysteries. The stories have to fit my website’s theme and research. Book reviews are posted here on my website first. After that, I share my book reviews on social media.
I cannot meet deadlines due to my workload. If you want me to review your book, contact me. I reserve the right to not review a book. If possible, I prefer a copy in paper form so my eyes get less screen time.
How do I comment on posts?
I encourage my readers to share their thoughts on their own social media platforms. By discussing a cold case on your own social media accounts with your network, you enhance the victim’s digital footprint. If we all keep that up maybe one day a case pops up in news feeds from people who can help advance the case. And that is the goal.
If I send you a message on the Contact Page, does it get posted on your website?
No, messages sent via the contact page land in my email inbox and are for my eyes only.
Can anyone guest blog on your website?
No. My guest bloggers are people I know, professionals, victim family members or their friends who have communicated extensively with me or, fellow cold case writers. Note that I do not publish repeated content. Be unique!
Can I buy ad space on your website?
Do you respect my privacy?
YES. No email address is ever shared unless you ask me to do so. There are no ads here, I don’t sell anything, and you cannot purchase anything here either.
Why is there a picture of a military fort on your website?
This picture in the left margin was used in previous themes so for continuation, I now use it in the mission statement (upper left hand corner of the website’s theme).
Dinaburg Fort is located in Latvia, Europe. It is the biggest fort in the Baltic States. I chose this photograph as my header because it represents how I feel about unsolved homicides.
Arches are a familiar feature in old prisons. In this photograph, you see moss everywhere. To me that indicates the cold, moist areas where unsolved homicide files are stored in a dismal state with little done to properly preserve the evidence. The arch opens into another area that holds the same dreadful features but one thing is different: the other area has two windows. These windows are like eyes and they let me look into a different direction. I can look out but also review the case by looking in, change the angle, change the starting point, etc.
Passing the arch symbolizes that the cold cases stored there for decades are now taken up by different people but still without results. However, there is hope that one day we just might find that piece of information that allows us to see the case with “new eyes” as represented by two small windows.
A cold case is a puzzle. However, if after decades the puzzle pieces still do not fit together then maybe it is time to think outside the box. Maybe the bits of information that formed a single puzzle piece were never meant to be placed together in one piece. Maybe we started the puzzle with the wrong pieces. And that is what this website does. I look at the puzzle and try to find alternative explanations for the facts in hopes to regroup the puzzle pieces to get a clearer picture.
Who is your webmaster?
Jacques Soudan has been responsible for the technical aspects of my website since 2009. I highly recommend him.