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September 2nd, 2005

The Sheik – A 1936 Cold Case

In 1936, a young Syrian boxer named George Abdinoor (aka The Sheik) was murdered in Brooklyn, then buried in a basement in Lawrence, MA.

He was unearthed 18 months later, and buried in the United Syrian Cemetery in Lawrence, MA. His case was never solved. 145 of the 365 homicide cases that year went cold.

The year with the largest number of unsolved homicides in New York was, not surprisingly, the year with the most murders. In 1990, 791 of the 2,245 murders that year are still unsolved. That’s 35%, and that’s typical. The most recent figures I have are for 2003. As of 2004, 294 of the 596 murders that year were not yet solved. That’s almost 50%. However, I did discover that a cold case has up to a 5% to 10% chance of being cleared within one year after it went cold. After two years it’s less than 1%. That means the percentage of unsolved murders in New York is around 40%.


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