I recently gave advice to a family member about contacting a cold case unit, and I thought other people might benefit from this advice. I’m only copying in the section of my email that might be useful to others, and I’m removing any identifying details.
“There are unfortunately so many unsolved murders, all of which deserve to be solved, and you said yourself that what you suspected was difficult to prove. It could be that the detectives on the case were thinking the same thing. ‘We know who did it and can’t prove it.’ Did you ever speak to them about this?”
“I can totally understand your wish to have new people look into your son’s case. The problem now is with so many unsolved murders the police are forced to make choices and they usually only pick up cold cases when there is new evidence, either physical evidence or someone who is willing to talk who wasn’t willing before. IE, people who were married to a suspect but are divorced from them now, people who aren’t friends any longer, and so on.”
“I’m not saying any of this is right or fair, it’s all horrible. You might try writing the cold case squad again, coming at it from a different angle. Put yourself in their shoes, and then answer this question: what can I say to them that will make them want to take a look at this case over the thousands and thousands of others? Why this one? Then, if you really think it’s this [particular person], say something like, “It’s been 20 years. Maybe there’s a kid who was loyal or afraid of [this person] who isn’t now?” You might go to the library and research which detectives have been successful solving similar cases and write to them. The only other thing I can suggest is hire a private detective, but I would only do that if you really think there are leads they can follow, otherwise this would not be a good use of your money.”
You might also contact the Vidocq Society.
Vidocq Society Case Referrals
1704 Locust Street, Second Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
“But bear in mind you will be faced with the same terrible challenge, what can I say to make them want to look at this case over all others?”
Getting help if a friend or family member was murdered: If you look up and to the left there’s a section titled: GETTING HELP – CONTACTING A COLD CASE SQUAD. Start by reading the link, “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad READ THIS.” And then you can get contact information in the next link, “Cold Case Squads & other Organizations Contact Info.”