Why another cold case site? Maybe this is what I wanted to do when I grew up and now that I am retired, I have the freedom to do more writing. Blogs are an expression of our interests and this is mine. I am expanding my horizons as a writer and have chosen this blog as a vehicle for that. You can see my articles in Law and Order Magazine at hendonpub.com and I am the author of a non-fiction book, Faces of Right Wing Extremism.
As a retired child abuse investigator, I have worked hundreds of cases and seen some of the worst actions by adults. On the other hand, I have worked with some of the best law enforcement officers and detectives who took the abuse personally and put forth the extra effort needed to insure that children were safe.
Sometimes those child abuse cases had edges that blended with other crimes. For instance, several years ago, one detective and I interviewed a man who had basically raped and pillaged his whole family. He raped his sister, tried to rape an aunt and molested several other minors. We believed he was probably responsible for two previous homicides besides the ones we suspected him of being responsible for at the time of our interview
We interviewed him about a child sexual assault case but it evolved into an interview about a multiple homicide, as the detective took advantage of having his warm body there for the child interview to ask the additional questions.
Tommy* didn’t have a lot of education but did have lots of street smarts. His wary eyes let us know that he wasn’t quite the country boy he wanted us to think. What I always found interesting about Tommy* was that he always hooked up with women a layer or two above his own social status. That is where the street smarts came in. He was able to convince the women he was something he wasn’t. Yes, I am making a judgment here. I was good at my job and right more than I was wrong and I have no doubt he was a vicious perpetrator, no matter that he wanted to look like a sheep. Remember the wolf in sheep’s clothing?
I always think about Tommy* as being one of the ones who got away. Later a serial killer took credit for the homicides we believe he did, but it was hard for me to believe that it wasn’t Tommy.* If that case is ever posted here, I won’t be telling you it is the same case! Although I am retired, I will not provide any identifying information that would link to cases that I necessarily kept confidential.
I don’t like the ones that get away. I didn’t like it on my job and I don’t like to see all the unsolved cold cases on the many sites. I think that there are people out there who can help make sure that these perpetrators don’t skip out on justice. How many cold cases homicides are waiting to be solved? I don’t know and I doubt anyone can tell you definitively, but I can tell you there are more than you see in state listings or other listings. I know that because there are several homicides not listed on the Illinois sites and I have found several other murders not included in the state by state lists by various agencies. There is no national database for cold cases, although registries such as IAFIS, CODIS, VICAP, and NIBIN** do help link some cases by the same offenders.
This failure of a certain case to be on any particular list does not necessarily mean anyone is negligent, but it is the “information in, information out” concept. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of state, county and local law enforcement agencies who handle homicides and while reporting has improved, older cases may have never made it to the internet. They are instead sitting in a file cabinet waiting for the tip that might lead to an arrest.
The focus of this blog is going to be unsolved cold case homicides but sometimes missing or abducted children may be featured, as well as other crimes that seem to need the attention of the public. Cold case murders will be mostly what you will see here, but I will entertain other topics in the same vein. As time allows, I will have other sections you can link to that will provide information about some of these other types of cases. There will be featured cases but also links that will take you to other unsolved homicides in the jurisdictions featured.
Right now is a time that your local law enforcement needs your help more than ever. Law enforcement agencies are handling their normal workload, which generally means an overload, with budgets getting even tighter. There are renewed concerns of home grown or “sleeper” terrorists that require dedicated manpower even in the Heartland. Police officers deserve our respect for doing a dangerous and often unappreciated job. That does not mean they cannot ever make mistakes but bear in mind that most officers are dedicated to their jobs – honest and true public servants. Every homicide detective has at least one unsolved case that lingers in the back of his/her mind and sometimes in the forefront of their minds, the one that got away – for now. Let’s change that.
When reading my blog, there are a few things you must understand. This is a pro-law enforcement site. I support the honest, legal actions of law enforcement. This site is not for attacking police officers. If you have a bone to pick with the actions of a certain police department or police officer, take it up with them. If you have some constructive, accurate information that someone within a department is sandbagging a cold case investigation for their own purposes, feel free to discuss it. However, character assassination will not be allowed and I won’t print off-the-wall conspiracy theories without some substantiating evidence.
Information that is given to me about criminal cases will be provided to the appropriate law enforcement agency. In most cases, the investigating officer or department’s contact information will be provided with the cold case information and you are encouraged to contact them directly, or if they prefer getting the information in a different manner such as Crimestoppers, you will be directed there. If you have some reason that that should not happen, then email me instead of making a blog entry and explain the circumstances of your preference not to deal with the police.
Everyone knows that forensic scientists can solve any case, no matter how bizarre or brutal or how old, in less than 60 minutes, minus the commercials. It is called the “CSI effect.” It isn’t that easy in real life. DNA has only been used in criminal cases since 1987. Check out The Blooding by Joseph Wambaugh, which details the first use of DNA to convict a murderer in England. Investigators who worked cases prior to that, especially in the 70’s, 80’s and earlier, had no reason to be processing scenes for DNA analysis because it didn’t exist. DNA is a wonderful tool but it is not a replacement for good investigative and interviewing skills.
Witnesses are great, but not infallible.
Snitches can provide good information, but are not always reliable, nor is their credibility always the best.
The truth is, every tool in the tool chest is needed to successfully investigate and prosecute crimes, especially cold case homicides. But many times the bits of information needed to put the picture together are missing. Sometimes it is that one missing link that prevents the real perpetrator from coming to justice.
That is where YOU come in.
Somewhere out there, there is someone who knows about every crime.
Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. How true! One of those is the victim and if there are two who know the secret, it is waiting to be told.
There is a victim and a perpetrator and in many cases, either witnesses or collateral persons who have knowledge of the crime. That might be family members, friends, or simply someone who had a conversation in a bar. Sometimes a tip is all it takes to get investigators on the right track or to give them that one piece of missing information that makes it all come together.
YOU can do that. YOU can provide the missing link that takes dangerous criminals off the street and brings justice to victims and their families.
YOU can prevent the further victimization of innocents by criminals who have remained on the street. Help bring abducted children home and killers to justice. Let families learn what happened to their loved ones.
Sometimes the killers are nomadic serial killers that travel a multistate area wreaking havoc and death. But sometimes killers stay right in their own hometowns, looking like everyone else and being pillars of the community. You know them.
Feel free to suggest cases that need publicized, things in your own community or where you have personal involvement. If you do so, please provide accurate and detailed information and it would be very helpful to have the name and contact information for the investigating detective. I will not publish any case without verifying its authenticity. Nor am I going to allow this space to be used for unfounded vendettas for situations that have already been adjudicated. Just because you don’t agree with the finding does not invalidate it.
Thanks for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.
*His name is not Tommy
**IAFIS (from FBI.gov)
The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS, is a national fingerprint and criminal history system to help our local, state, and federal partners—and our own investigators—solve and prevent crime and catch criminals and terrorists.
CODIS (from FBI.gov)
CODIS is the acronym for the “Combined DNA Index System” and is the generic term used to describe the FBI’s program of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run these databases.
NIBIN( from ATF.gov)
The NIBIN Program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner. NIBIN is the only interstate automated ballistic imaging network in operation in the United States and is available to most major population centers in the United States.
VICAP (from FBI.gov)
The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) maintains the largest investigative repository of major violent crime cases in the U.S. It is designed to collect and analyze information about homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and other violent crimes involving unidentified human remains.