Cold Case Protocols

The Foundations of Cold Case Murder Investigation

The key factor that determines the course of cold case investigations has always been, and always will be time. The negative side of this is that time works against the authorities if the perpetrator is not captured after the first few days. On the other hands, years have passed and it can now work to our benefit. The original protocols included three simple concepts:

People change
With the passage of time, people change. If not generally, then at least some part of them. Friendships, marriages, business relations, and most importantly – trust relations. They can deteriorate or improve over time, especially when there is a murder investigation hanging over their heads. A large number of old homicides are being resolved when a former friend or ex-spouse has been located, and they are more willing to cooperate now. Ben Franklin has the credit of saying, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” A man with such thinking would have made an excellent cold case detective.

Advancements in science and technology
This means that while the homicide had occurred, the concepts and methods used were not so advanced and efficient as they are now. This means that we have the technological and scientific advantage that investigators could not use during the past years. New developments can be implemented to locate evidence that had been thought impossible to find before.

New investigators
A change in the team that is currently running the murder investigation can bring a new point of view and a fresh set of eyes that may find something that has been previously overlooked. There is a relation between the information that has been gathered and the number of officers involved. In some circumstances, the right information may not reach the right person in the right moment of time.