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January 16th, 2007

The Number of Unsolved Murders in New York City

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There are now 9,082 unsolved murders in New York City going back to 1985. That figure is a moving target of course. They are adding to that number all the time. Roughly 150 – 200 or more murders go cold every year, and try as they might, they are not going back and solving that many each year (of the older, cold cases).

That picture was take at one of the Property Clerk warehouses. Those barrels contain homicide evidence.

Attention!  If you have a friend or loved one whose murder is still unsolved and you want to know what to do, please read this:

People ask repeatedly in the comments section about what to do or who to call about an unsolved murder. The answer to those questions are on the left under the heading, Getting Help – Contacting a Cold Case Squad. First read the document titled Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad. Then look up the number in the document Cold Case Squad and Other Organizations.

If you can’t find a number for your city or town, call your local police department and ask them if they have a cold case squad or a person in their homicide squad who specializes in cold cases. If they don’t then ask to speak to someone in their homicide squad. If you don’t get what you believe is a decent response, then go to the document on the left titled, Escalating Your Case.

If you have specific questions after reading through these instructions please ask here, but come back to see the answer!

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→ 637 CommentsTags: Homicide Facts ·

637 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stacy Horn // Apr 28, 2016 at 8:15 am

    I’m sorry you lost your father. Before a detective can help you will have to narrow down the date and place. I have two suggestions. First, search the Social Security Death Index. You can access it through Ancestry.com. If you don’t have an Ancestry.com account you can go to your local library.

    I would also try to track down his death certificate. If this happened in one of the boroughs of New York City you can order in online at the link below. For people like yourself who are not sure of dates they will let you put in a range of dates. But try the Social Security Death Index first, because you’re not even sure this happened in New York at this point. Good luck.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/archives/genealogy.shtml

  • 2 Davis Smith // May 1, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Davis Smith family have been looking for him since he vanished from Lafayette Louisiana in 2009. Davis is very I’ll and unaware of where he is please help him call home Lafayette PD is aware of him missing. Family sisters love him pat 337-330-222204/Janice337-254-8084 Rose 214-545-2929 Thank y’all!

  • 3 Michelle Rea // May 2, 2016 at 3:30 am

    On long Island N.Y cold case still open but not active. How do you get a col case reopened today with our modern science. Can anyone help this family finally find the truth and why is my uncle cold case still open and it inactive. Help

  • 4 Stacy Horn // May 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I’m sorry about your Uncle, Michelle. Please read through these suggestions. If you have any questions, please let me know.

    http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?page_id=366

  • 5 Raquel Novoa // May 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hi. Trying to find info. On a young mother of 3 shot and killed by boyfriend in the bronx 1978-79.. Her name was Dretha Clayton. She was probably 21-23 yrs old at time of death.

  • 6 Stacy Horn // May 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Hello Raquel. You don’t say if the case is open or closed, but I’m going to assume you are asking about a cold case. Please read through the suggestions in the link below. If you have any questions,

    http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?page_id=366

  • 7 Sahodra Khan // May 18, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Hi my brother passed away in a homicide in 1994 in Brooklyn. I believe the case was handled by the 72nd pct. I would like some info on who I may be able to contact.

  • 8 Stacy Horn // May 18, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Sahodra, I’m so sorry about your brother. What was his name?

  • 9 Sahodra Khan // May 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    His name is Raghunauth Singh. He was 16 years old.

  • 10 Stacy Horn // May 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Sahodra, I’m going to email you.

  • 11 Sahodra Khan // May 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you very much. I really would like some info. I would like to give my parents some closure before anything happens to them. Its been a long time. Thank you Ms Horn. I can give you any info you may need.

  • 12 Anthony Woodcock // Jun 24, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I am a surviving victim of a murder/shooting that occurred in elmhurst,ny. A young woman was killed at Broadway park and I was injured. All of these years later, I remember that night vividly for some reason. Have no idea on the outcome of the case but would like to help or whatever if needed. I ask nothing in return.

  • 13 Anthony Woodcock // Jun 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I am surviving victim of murder/shooting at Broadway park in elmhurst, queens. The incident happened in 1989. For whatever reason, I vividly recall the incident now. Please advise.

  • 14 Stacy Horn // Jun 25, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Did you speak to the police at the time? I guess I would begin by calling the Detective Squad at the precinct to see if the case is open or closed. That is the 110, I believe, and their number is 718-476-9317.

    If know the case is open you could call the Queens Cold Case Squad. Their number is (718) 776-9276.

  • 15 jenny // Jul 18, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    how can u solve a cold case when u only know the killers. and the about time.

  • 16 Stacy Horn // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Are you willing to talk to a cold case detective? You might have enough details to narrow down which it might be.

  • 17 B. Clinton // Jul 20, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Stacey: I am still waiting to hear from the cold case detective you reached out to in regard to the death of Darryl Clinton in the bronx on July 25, 1997. Detective Honora was on the case but he retired. Ms Clinton

  • 18 Rose Smith // Sep 6, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Davis Smith dob 1/19/1964 has been known to frequent the NY NY area is missing from Lafayette LA, contact info sister Pat 337-220-2204 sassy 214-545-2929 Janice 337-254-8084 please he needs to come home, thank y’all

  • 19 Rose Smith // Oct 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Davis Smith dob 1/19/1964 missing from Lafayette LA

  • 20 Robert S Iuliani // Oct 23, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Can you please tell me if there have been any updates to the murder of Michelle Colucci from Middle Village Queens?…Murdered on Penelope Ave in 1997.

  • 21 Stacy Horn // Oct 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Robert, I cannot, but if you are a family member you can contact the detective squad of that precinct and ask them where the case was left.

  • 22 Stacy Horn // Oct 31, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I’m very sorry that Davis Smith is still missing. Missing persons cases are not my area of expertise, I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ve already contacted these organizations for advice, but just in case:

    The Doe Network, http://www.doenetwork.org/ and Namus, http://www.namus.gov/

  • 23 Jessica Martin // Nov 2, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    One of my very best friends, knew her since I was a toddler. She was murdered 9/8/1992. Her name was Paula Pannella. Bronx NY. She was found in her home and was so badly beaten with so many bones in her face broken that it was a closed casket funeral. She was also either strangled or suffocated. We were supposed to see each other the day she died. I kept calling her and at one point the phone was ringing busy busy busy and I believe it was knocked off of the hook during her murder. I want to say she lived on Rhinelander Avenue in morris park section of the Bronx. I never heard whether they found her killer. Many of us believed it was her married/druggie estranged boyfriend. His name was Mike. I know I’m not family, but I lost the one stable influence in my world on 9/9/92 when I was told she was dead. Closure would be something. She is in the our lady of hope crypt at St Raymond’s cemetery on East tremont. It would mean the world to me to have any information at all. I will always wonder if she would be alive today had I ignored her not wanting to be awakened too early. I waited to call her until I was pretty sure she would be awake. It haunts me that I may have been ringing her phone when it was happening. I still cry. She died 13 days before her 23rd birthday. Her DOB was 9/21/69

    If you can help me, I would be so incredibly grateful.

  • 24 Stacy Horn // Nov 3, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I know this seems kinda obvious and not very helpful, but why don’t you contact her family to find out where the case was left? An alternative to that would be to call the detective squad of the 49 precinct. Their number is 718-918-2038 or 2039. But as you said, you are not family. I would be very polite, explain your situation, and tell them you would just like to know if the case is open or closed. Start there.

    As far as the timing of your phone call, without knowing what happened there is no way of knowing that calling at a different time would have changed anything. But you know that. Please stop torturing yourself. Also, pretty much everyone I’ve talked to, from detectives to family members, say there is no such thing as closure. The only thing I’ve seen that makes people feel better, and this might not be for you, is to do something in the world to help someone else who is suffering, perhaps volunteer for an agency that helps crime victims. Or, do something in your own life that you think would have made your friend proud of you. (Please forgive me if this sounds like lecturing.)

  • 25 Jessica Martin // Nov 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I called the precinct. I’m kind of shocked that I started bawling while giving the woman the information. She said she would try to see what she can find out and call me back.

    It’s been 24 years. She’s been gone longer than she lived and yet all those feelings came flooding back.

    Thank you for giving me the number. I know there is no closure to be had. I can’t contact her family. I don’t think they could handle living in that house after what happened. It is where she was born and grew up. They spoke very little English. They were Italian and she was first generation American. Her parents came from Italy as adults. My Italian isn’t strong enough to really have an intense conversation and I was so heart broken and self destructive after it happened.

    She was just the only good influence I had and I knew her from when I was a very young child. She was like my big sister. Whoever killed her also killed a big part of me.

    Thank you again. I hope they really do call me back and I hope the case was solved and not just closed unsolved. There were only two people that I could imagine harming her. One was her estranged boyfriend. The other was one of our bosses. Whoever it was, she let them in. It makes me believe it was her ex because she didn’t even want to talk with our bosses partner. I know she still loved her ex

  • 26 Stacy Horn // Nov 4, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    They should probably call you back, although it might take a while. Give them a few weeks and if you don’t hear back, call again to follow-up. I hope you are able to get some answers.

  • 27 Thomas Hatfield // Nov 13, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I remember hearing the awful news about the death of my mother. Jane Michelle Fields. Whom, lived in the Bronx. With her mother. My mother was murdered on October 31st 1996. I don’t know if her killer has been captured or not. But my mom would’ve been 72 years old. Had she been alive today. I know she is now at peace with the Lord in Heaven. I will be commemorating the death of my mom’s birthday next month. With family members. Thankyou all for your thoughts and prayers. Rest in Peace to my dear Mom. Jane Michelle Fields. December 4th 1943 to October 31st 1996

  • 28 Stacy Horn // Nov 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Thomas, I am so sorry about your mother. As her son, you can contact the precinct which handled her case to find out where it was left. If you tell me the precinct I can get you the number of the detective squad.

  • 29 Jessica Martin // Nov 13, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother. My mother died that year in April and was just a bit younger than yours when she died. I know it is far more traumatizing to have someone’s life taken vs poor self care catching up with someone.

    I hope you get news that they have captured her killer and that they are behind bars for life.

    I’m just a stranger but also from Bronx NY. Park Chester area. 43rd precinct.

  • 30 Stacy Horn // Nov 13, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Jessica, if there was such a thing as “likes” for blogs I would have liked your comment. It was nice of you to express compassion for a stranger, thank you.

  • 31 Jessica Martin // Nov 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Stacy

    I have a wonderful detective at the cold case squad trying to locate her full file. It was apparently checked out without an ID tag, which he said is peculiar.

    I gave him all of the information that I remember and dug around online to see who I could find that could potentially be related to what happened to her.

    I know nothing may come of it, but he has called me twice. My mother apparently gave a statement when it happened and I didn’t know she had. She was a bit of an exaggerator, but she named one of the people that I had concerns over.

    See, Paula and I worked together and our bosses always claimed they had mob connections. I have no idea if they were just saying it because I was gullible and naive or if they were actually telling the truth. Paula and I had issues with a partner that was kept off paper but started managing the business alongside the two legal partners. He hired a girl that he had hopes of bedding and laid me off. Not longer after he fired Paula and accused her of stealing. They exchanged harsh words and she walked out. Shortly after he went to her house at night and yelled up to her window and they argued. Not long after that she was dead.

    I have no idea if it was her ex boyfriend or our old boss. I just know that the brutality involved and the fact that there was no sign of forced entry means she knew her killer and trusted them enough to let them inside.

    They weren’t able to have an open casket viewing and it kept me from accepting her death. I told myself she was in witness protection and couldn’t contact me. I then became angry that she didn’t find a way to contact me and was very self destructive. It wasn’t until recently that it fully hit me that this all really happened and she’s really gone forever.

    Someone took an only child from overprotecting and loving parents. They took my best friend and broke every bone in her face. In her home.

    I just want to thank you for getting back to me. I am still very hopeful that this detective will find a lead. He has heart and actually cares… and that’s so rare anymore for someone in his line of work to not be jaded or burnt out.

  • 32 Morvel Owens // Nov 17, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    My brother Marlon M Owens was gun down in his apartment at 201w 118st NY NY 10026 in 1996, a Dt Burke was handling the case at the time, who has being retired since, my mom and i would like to hear something about his case which has bin cold since then. Thank you

  • 33 Stacy Horn // Nov 18, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Morvel, I’m very sorry about your brother. Here is the number for the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad: (718) 834-2777.

  • 34 Maritza Sime // Nov 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    My brother David Sime was murdered in Pelham Bay Park/Orchard Beach 5/22/1992 at the age of 19, Detective Thomas Mansfield was handling and retired around the time of the tragic 9/11. I’ve called the 45 in the Bronx and was once told it’s closed but I can speak to Queens Cold case since that is where we reside. Ughhhh very frustrating. Help

  • 35 Stacy Horn // Nov 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I’m so sorry about your brother, Maritza, and about your frustration dealing with the NYPD. A homicide case can only be closed when there has been an arrest. I would call the Queens Cold Case unit back and ask them who has taken Det. Mansfield’s cases. Or, call Lt. Dave Nilson, the commanding officer for the Cold Case Squad, and ask him to reassign the case. The main number for the squad is (718) 834-2777.

  • 36 Jessica // Dec 8, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    13 yrs ago my son died and he was 3mths old and in the care of my ex-husband. My son’s death certificate says homicide. Can his case be reopened, because I just got some disturbing news about my son’s death.

  • 37 Stacy Horn // Dec 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    I am so sorry about your son. If no one was ever arrested the case would still be open. I’m going to email you.

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