Think crimes always get solved? Think again. These 10 excellent cold case blogs shed light on gruesome murders that remain in need of resolution.
The National Institute of Justice defines a cold case as one in which “probative investigative leads have been exhausted.” While ‘probative’ means having the ‘tendency to prove,’ the sad matter is that one-third of murders in the U.S. remain unsolved. In fact, according to an article by NPR, some 200,000 murders have gone unsolved since the 1960s. What’s more perplexing is that more than 50 years ago, about 90 percent of murders were solved. So, what’s changed? Maybe not all that much—except for attitudes. The NPR article points out that clearing crime is a matter of priority and that some jurisdictions do better at it than others. In addition, some jurisdictions make it a point to pull old cases to see if new technology can help. While those all certainly may be factors, there are just too many families out there waiting in hope for some answers. In light of that, we share with you a list of 10 cold case blogs that are worth a look, and a follow.
1. Project Cold Case: This blog may be one of the best, highlighting cold cases that have occurred and been forgotten throughout the years, through use of regular posts, pictures and old newspaper clippings. One of the most recent posts concerns the case of 29-year-old Kristen Wilson, who was found strangled in her Houston apartment around Thanksgiving 1996, and whose perpetrator has never been found. Even now, the Houston Police Department’s Cold Case Unit, reachable at (713) 308-3600, seeks leads in this case as it comes close to 20 years of being unsolved.
2. Defrosting Cold Cases: Although the name of this blog is downright chilling, it takes a unique approach to cold cases, profiling one a month on a detailed basis—all in the hope of creating new interest and getting people talking about the victims again. For Jan. 2016, the highlighted case is that of Deborah Lynn Rosencraz, who was left for dead in bloodstained blankets tied with a rope, in 1977, in Chicago. “When you tie a knot and pull it tight with your hands you leave biological materials on that piece of rope,” the blog author writes. “Let’s hope that 2016 is the year in which we find some answers in this tragic case.”
3. My Life of Crime: This blog takes a fresh look at cold cases, if only in the sense that it reports mainly on cases cases that have been solved—yes, murderers identified and found! This includes three men charged with the murder of Gary Dawson in 1983 and another man sentenced to life without parole in the 1993 death of Shawna Yandell. The blog is updated several times a month, and includes information on convicted inmates, as well as links to related to new articles about posted cold cases.
4. Denver Post Cold Cases: Who would think there could be so many cold cases in one city, but that’s what Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell has revealed in his cold case blog. Actually, the blog extends to unsolved murders throughout the entire state of Colorado, not just Denver, including the shooting death of a man picked up outside a gay bar in 2005 and the 1991 deaths of a couple volunteering at a VFW club in Buena Vista. Mitchell not only provides pictures of the victims in almost every post, but also a brief background about the case.
5. Iowa Cold Cases: Although this blog is specific to cold cases in Iowa, it provides the background, details and updates that could be of interest to anyone intrigued by unsolved crime and murders. The blog, launched in 2005, has an aim of keeping alive an interest in unsolved cases in the state, and now features more than 500 cases in all. It originally launched to help compile a list of cold cases in the state – since there was no official compendium – and since then has helped to provide information on cases and turned into a non-profit with a tag of ‘… where hope is never laid to rest.’
6. Cold Case Squad: Run by a former New York Police Department Sergeant by the name of Joe Giacalone, this blog includes updates relevant to everything investigative. Whether it’s a link to the updated U.S. Department of Justice’s guide to interviewing victimized children or Giacalone’s thoughts about why it wasn’t a good idea for 6,000 federal prisoners to be released early in 2015 (primarily because they lack a support system), readers are sure to find his posts interesting and their perceptions challenged.
7. Huff Post Cold Cases: It’s hard to imagine the Huffington Post overlooking any aspect of potential reporting, so it’s really not far reaching for the organization to host a Cold Cases blog. The Huff Post blog page features multiple rails, catchy headlines and photos to help draw readers in and entice them to click for further reading on one of the listed cold case stories. Of gruesome note, details about an unidentified woman and child found inside a steel drum more than 30 years ago in New Hampshire comprise the latest blog post. But, this case became even more chilling, the blog points out, when the bodies of two young girls were found 15 years later inside of another steel drum.
8. Crimesider: Find regular updates to cold cases in this CBS News-hosted blog, including details about an arrest that was made in the 1996-slaying death of Maryland teen Stacy Lynn Hoffmaster. In fact, the arrest came almost a year after a new primary investigator in Hoffmaster’s case was assigned and several witnesses and original investigators were re-interviewed. The blog also includes recent information about three people indicted in the 2013 death of a college student, two brothers charged in a 1983 beating death in Illinois, and much, much more.
9. Cold Case: This WordPress blog takes a brief look at those cold cases that are old and those that are even older, such as the death of film director William Desmond Taylor in 1922, who was found with a single bullet wound to his back. Of course, years later an actress who once worked with him confessed to the crime, but no confirmation was ever made. Each of the entries on this blog is concise and short, and better yet, the blog is updated regularly to include information about prison sentences, rewards for information and missing persons updates.
10. The Restless Sleep: This blog takes a look at New York City’s Cold Case Squad and provides discussion and resources about cold cases. Run by Stacy Horn, author of “The Restless Sleep,” it covers details regarding conferences, links to other blogs and websites, and even information about the the size of the New York City Cold Case squad, which had reached back up in number to 20 detectives by the end of 2015. The blog, which has archives dating back to 2005, has grown to include a focus beyond The Big Apple, too.