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August 23rd, 2005

When is a Case Too Cold? Part 1

Someone asked, “How far back in time can a cold case be sent in? How many years back can a case be re-opened?”

I’m going to ask the cold case guys to weigh in, but there is no statute of limitations on murder. If a murder hasn’t been solved, the case is still open even if no one has looked at it for years or decades. Practically speaking though, the Cold Case detectives concentrate on cases they think they can solve first, cases with evidence and/or witnesses, or people with direct information about the murder, and cases where the murderer is likely still alive.

So, most of their cases are fairly recent. They usually don’t have cases earlier than the 70’s, although there are always exceptions. The Cold Case detectives are currently looking at the 1930 Judge Crater case, technically a missing persons case which was closed in 1979. Even though most people believed Crater was killed, the police had no evidence, and as a missing persons case — not a homicide — it could be closed. New evidence has recently emerged however, although how reliable it is and if it leads to anything remains to be seen. But it would be fun if it did!

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