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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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→ 735 CommentsTags: Homicide Facts ·

735 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stacy Horn // Mar 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I’m sorry you lost your friend. What are you trying to find out? I will email you.

  • 2 Shawna Cantor // Mar 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Back in August, 1980 my uncle, Felipe Cantor was murdered in the Bronx. We never heard of the case ever being solved! I would like to know anything about the case and/or the exact date of his death.

  • 3 Stacy Horn // Mar 21, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I’m sorry you lost your uncle. You can get his exact date of death several ways. The easiest would probably be going to the library and using Ancestry.com to access the Social Security Death Index. You can also request a copy of his death certificate from Vital Records. The link is below. They will allow you to put a range if you are unsure of the date.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/vr-death-general.shtml

    A member of your uncle’s immediate family can contact the detective squad of the precinct where his murder occurred to find out where the case was left. If you tell me where he was killed I can get you the number to call.

  • 4 Shawna Cantor // Mar 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I tried ancestry and a couple of few sites but it doesn’t give me the option but an exact date. Okay, he was murder in Bronx

  • 5 Stacy Horn // Mar 21, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I’m not sure what you were trying to say in your first sentence. What option didn’t it give you? You will get the exact date if you submit a request for a death certificate using the link I gave you, in any case. So if you couldn’t get what you needed at Ancestry.com I would follow that route.

    As far as where he was murdered, I would need a more precise location, alas. There are 12 precincts in the Bronx. The death certificate may list the location of his death. I say “may” because I know earlier death certificates always did, but I’m not sure if later ones do. If it doesn’t someone from the immediate family could contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to request a copy of the autopsy, which should provide that information. 212-447-2030

  • 6 Shawna Cantor // Mar 22, 2015 at 8:21 am

    So sorry I didn’t explain myself correctly. What I meant is that when, I went on “Ancestry” they didn’t give me an option to enter a range, since I don’t know an exact date. Now, while I am searching I can put a range of dates, but when it’s time to order it’s asking for the exact date. Thank you so much for all your, help!

  • 7 Stacy Horn // Mar 22, 2015 at 8:37 am

    On Ancestry.com: When you enter a date of death if you look underneath it gives you the choice to search on a exact or to enter a range.

    Ordering the death certificate: Apparently you don’t get the option when ordering online but if you download the pdf of the death certificate request you will see the option for putting in a range.

  • 8 Shawna Cantor // Mar 22, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Okay, thank you.

  • 9 Marly // Apr 11, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Hello,

    An ex boyfriend was rumored to have been killed in ENY Brooklyn circa 90- 93. I ran into a good friend today who told me he’d once told her if he was rumored to be dead he would not be… He was needless to say, not doing the right things. His name was Jose Lorenzo.

  • 10 Stacy Horn // Apr 12, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    If you can’t reach his family, there are other things you can do. You can go to your local library to check the Social Security Death Index on Ancestry.com. I talk about other ways to research in this post:

    https://www.therestlesssleep.com/?p=704

  • 11 elena yarmolik // Apr 13, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Hello, I am trying to halp one immigramt family to ge to know their rights to information on murder suiside closed case that happend in manhattan on dec.22, 2013,, father throws his son of the roof 52nd fl and then jums himself, the parents have more information that was ignored by the detective and never was given case number only part of the video how he enters the building, no videos available from elevator or the roof, the doorman and sevurity let him go with son unstoped what can they do to reopen the case with DA,

  • 12 elena yarmolik // Apr 13, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    The son was going trough devors and according to his parents the juge from family court was on his side awording him the house and visitation, all the intervews from media were taken from his surviving wife and her family , the parents of suisider could not giv any speach the were in shock, there is so many wuestions left becous he left no note, he loved his son, the phone was missing but after 40 minuts after his dath three family members I cluding his wife got text message that he cant talk now and will contact later, please halp them guide how they can proseed any ferther

  • 13 lea thompson // Apr 15, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Stacy
    This is Lea my brother Franklin Lomax was killed. I spoke to you often and purchased your book. I dont know who is still working the case.

  • 14 lea thompson // Apr 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I believe Detective Wendell Stafford was working on in. I need some up date or anything I can do myself

  • 15 Stacy Horn // Apr 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Did you email him and not get a response? How did he leave it with you? Did he think there was anything he could do?

  • 16 Stacy Horn // Apr 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I’m sorry, the facts as you’ve laid them out are confusing to me. What is the question here? The family doesn’t believe their son is dead? Was there are body? Or they don’t believe their son would kill himself and his son? If that is the case, please read this:

    https://www.therestlesssleep.com/?page_id=382

    There is information about contacting the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner here:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocme/html/services/autopsy.shtml

  • 17 Lawrence Simmons // May 21, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    This is for for Fatima Bohler I’m your Uncle Lawrence Bohler Simmons me and Charlene are Brother and Sister raise different household I just found her last year after 30yrs please e-mail me please your mom is ok and has been looking for you and your brother lsimmons@krcl.com hope your doing well.

  • 18 Karen // May 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I have been researching my boyfriend at the time Mark Barocas who was murdered in july of 1980 allegedly taken from bristol pa to new york, I have not been able to find any information on this murder, can u advise?”

  • 19 Stacy Horn // May 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m very sorry about your boyfriend. My advice is in the post you are commenting on. If you look over on the left on this blog, where it says, GETTING HELP – CONTACTING A COLD CASE SQUAD, and click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad.” I’ve written instructions on what do to. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  • 20 nancy diaz // May 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I want to.know more about my kids.father. death he was found in his apt in oct 1998 dead partly discomposed need closure for my children

  • 21 Stacy Horn // May 23, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I’m very sorry your children lost their father. You don’t say where this happened or what you need to know so I don’t know how to advise you. If this is an unsolved homicide, look over on the left on this blog, where it says, GETTING HELP – CONTACTING A COLD CASE SQUAD, and click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad.” I’ve written instructions on what do to. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  • 22 Esperance // Jun 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Hello I am trying to get information on the murder of my father, he was killed in February 1985 the bronx ny how do i began to get this information

  • 23 Stacy Horn // Jun 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I’m sorry about your father. If you read the post you’re commenting on the answer to question is there. Essentially, you want to look over on the left on this blog, where it says, GETTING HELP – CONTACTING A COLD CASE SQUAD, and click on “Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad.” I’ve written instructions on what do to. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  • 24 Kai // Jul 8, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Seeking info about a death listed as a ” mugging” April 22, 1973.. Black Female 48 yes old Occupation..possible teacher.. Helen Mae Clayton- Walker NICKNAME Billie …Does anyone know how I can go about getting more information please..I don’t even know if case was solved or if it remains an unsolved case.

  • 25 Stacy Horn // Jul 9, 2015 at 11:22 am

    If you are not a family member the police department is not going to give you more information, especially with a case that old. It’s not easy to get a hold of the records. I’d suggest reading this post:

    https://www.therestlesssleep.com/?p=704

    And starting at the library. It is possible, if you get more information, like where exactly this happened, you might be able to find out.

  • 26 Kai // Jul 9, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Hello thank you for the response. She is my grandmother. My mothers biological mother

  • 27 Stacy Horn // Jul 9, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Ah, okay. I’m sorry for your loss. Where did it happen exactly? There are 76 precincts in New York, so you need to find out so someone can try to look up the case for you.

  • 28 Kai // Jul 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you I will do that. We recently found out who she is..long story..All that we know was that it was documented that she had died in 73..and was the victim of a mugging on Good Friday I. Harlem. She was 48 years old at time..may have been a school teacher.. This happened on April 22,1973. I’m trying to find out more info..have been looking online..and may go to library.. Larger branch I. Manhattan.. One in Brooklyn, neighborhood is small and limited

  • 29 Stacy Horn // Jul 9, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Well, since you are a grandchild I believe you can request a copy of the autopsy report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, that should tell you where it happened and other useful information:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocme/html/services/autopsy.shtml

  • 30 Kai // Jul 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you I’ll do that. Guess I’ll start by getting a copy of her death certificate form the Dept of Vital Statistics in NYC ..and go from there.

  • 31 Carmine Sarnelli // Jul 22, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Hello,
    I hope all is well, I have been looking for something like this my whole life. My father was murdered on Lexington Ave. Nov. 22nd 1985, there was no investigation or anything. I am now 40 years old with a family. Can you please help me out. At the least it would put some closure for my whole family.
    Thank you so very much for your time.
    Carmine A. Sarnelli

  • 32 Diana Pena // Jul 22, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Hello there! my father was murdered on dec 30th 1993, Richmond hill, Queens. Eventhough i hate to remember those horrible scenes, i want to know what happen with this case. I was 7 years old, now that im an adult, i have this curiosity. I hope u can help me out. Thanks!

  • 33 Stacy Horn // Jul 23, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I’m very sorry about your father. What was his name?

  • 34 Stacy Horn // Jul 23, 2015 at 10:37 am

    I’m very sorry about your father. Two questions, what was his name? And can you tell me where on Lexington this happened? I know it sounds like a petty question, but Lexington Avenue is long and passes through a number of precincts and we’d know to know which precinct has the case. One thing you can do in the meantime is contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the autopsy records. This will give more information about his manner and cause of death and why there wasn’t an investigation (and if that is really true). Their number is 212-447-2030. You could also contact Vital Records and get a copy of his death certificate:

    http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page

  • 35 danielle // Jul 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    hello my name is Danielle and my Cousin TIMOTHY hAIRSTON WAS MURDERED in Dec 2014 . COLD blooded murder he was shot 6 times in his chest and left there to die . we still haven’t gotten any justice for him yet I think that detectives stop the investigation because he has a criminal back round . I don’t think its right for them to stop looking we heard of possible ppl who have had invaldment with it but yet no arrest was made . I Really want my cousin killer in jail we need justice please help us we are begging …. PLEASE !!! RIP TIMOTHY HAIRSTON WE LOVE AND MISS U DEARLY EVERYDAYYYY

  • 36 Stacy Horn // Jul 27, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    I’m so sorry about your cousin. I’m not sure where to begin. The truth is, some detectives are better than others. But clearing a murder makes a detective look good, so if a murder isn’t solved it’s usually because the investigation has stalled, rather than they’ve stopped trying. Also, suspects are usually not arrested until detectives have convincing evidence and witnesses who are willing to testify. Still, without any details, who am I to say what is and isn’t being done.

    If his family has concerns they should talk to the detective about them and be frank. Are there people the detectives haven’t spoken to? Tests that should have been performed that weren’t? There are all sorts of reasons why the detectives may not be able to tell them everything they’re doing, however. In any case, if after talking to the detectives the family still has concerns then they should start escalating them. I give guidelines for escalating cases here:

    https://www.therestlesssleep.com/?page_id=372

  • 37 seeking the truth // Jul 28, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    A friend claims to be very traumatized by finding a friend murdered, on the street in the greater NYC area in the 1985-1989 period. Long story short, they have PSTD about it and only remembers the name John, that he was a young white male, two gunshots, on the street – not Mahattan.

    With details limited – I would like to find out if this really happened. It may not be a cold case, how do I get all the John murdered in NYC at the time – he would not be a John Doe –

    Or is it better to let it go?

  • 38 Stacy Horn // Jul 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    There were 8,439 murders during that period. The more you can narrow down the where and when, the better your chance will be of figuring out who it was. But I would start by going to the library and using Proquest. If you’ve never used it before the librarian can help you but it’s very simple to use. And very useful in general.

  • 39 Dorothy // Aug 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I would like to get a copy of the police report of. Y grandfather’s murder sometime around 1937. My mother never knew al the details and she is now deceased. I have no family to ask about it, and I am interested in finding out as much as I can. I have no information other than he was thrown off a building somewhere I NYC.

    Please advise where to start.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Dorothy

  • 40 Stacy Horn // Aug 6, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Well, this will be a bit of a long shot, but you must start by getting more information about exactly when and where this happened. I would start by requesting a copy of his death certificate from Vital Records. The link is below. They will allow you to put a range if you are unsure of the date.

    http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page

    This will give you the date and a little more information about his death. From there you can request a copy of the autopsy records from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and that will give you even more information. Their number is 212-447-2030. At this point you will have the where and when, and I will be able to advise you about how to contact next.

  • 41 janet lowe // Aug 15, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    My sister diane lowe was murdered in Jan 1985 in harlem I wanted to know did they ever found out who did it or not it’s been a long time wanted to now. Thankyou janet lowe

  • 42 Stacy Horn // Aug 16, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I’m so sorry about your sister. I would begin by calling the precinct that has the case. Where in Harlem did this happen exactly?

  • 43 Lisa // Aug 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    back in jan 2000 my daughters father was murdered. I never heard anything about any arrests for his murder. Would love to know if anyone ever got information

  • 44 Stacy Horn // Aug 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    What was his name? Where exactly was he murdered?

  • 45 LaSika // Aug 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Stacey Horn,

    I am the daughter of a young woman by the name of Elaine Clark that was murdered when i was 3yrs old.. i have searched and searched trying to find some kind of information about what happened to her. this happened on or around november 2, 1982. some crazy man decided that he would take my mother on a five story building rooftop in harlem on 125th e, i think that was the addrress, and kill her, at the time she was pregnant, and i was with her, he took me back down stairs and left me there. then went about two blocks down and killed my mother’s best friend, and left her son on the corner, as he did me. then killed a nun a block from her. i would like to know if this man was ever arrested and prosecuted for these crimes. i have the officers name that worked on this case, i have it written down(not with me right now) but i would appreciate it if anyone here remembers this incident that can help please do and thank you in advance.

  • 46 Stacy Horn // Aug 21, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Oh my god, what an horrific story, I’m so sorry for your loss and how terribly it happened. There are a number of things you can do. You could call the precinct that has the case to see where it was left. Do you know your mother’s best friend’s name? The name of the nun? I just looked up Elaine Clark in the Social Security Death Index but she doesn’t come up. Could she have gone by another name? I will email you.

  • 47 janet lowe // Aug 26, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    What the status of here csse never heard about it again

  • 48 janet lowe // Aug 27, 2015 at 12:14 am

    My sister done lowe was murder in 1985 murder what has you updated on the fail please get back which I would also like to see the pictures on her.thankyou janrt

  • 49 Stacy Horn // Aug 27, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hello again. I responded to your earlier post, and I also emailed you and you never answered. I would begin by calling the precinct that has the case. Where in Harlem did this happen exactly? If you tell me where I can give you the number for the detective squad at the precinct.

    There are several precincts in Harlem, so I do need the address in order to get you the correct number. If you are not sure you can track this information down. It may be on the death certificate, although different years list different information, so you could also get her autopsy records from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. They should also list her place of death.

    You can order her death certificate here:

    http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page

    The number for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is 212-447-2030.

    I’m very sorry about your sister.

  • 50 Brian // Aug 28, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I have a friend that never meet her father and I would like to help her get close this chapter in her life. Her mother was three months pregnant when he was killed. His name was Delroy Dale he was killed December 8 or 10 in 1989. I just wanted some name’s of the family members so she could meet her family

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