Cold Case Models for Evaluating Unresolved Homicides

  • James M. Adcock, PhD
  • Sarah L. Stein, PhD Western New England University
Keywords: Cold Cases, Evaluation Models, Unresolved Homicides


During the period 1980-2008 the United States has accumulated nearly 185,000unresolved murders. Based on the number of homicides andclearance rates for murders 2009-2012 this figure is either closer to, or well over 200,000.  As of 2004 the UnitedStates also had approximately 14,000 unidentified sets of human remains, many of which could be homicides, furtherincreasing our total number of unresolved cases.     The efforts to resolve some of these cases by law enforcement and others have been unrelenting.  And while historically we can easily identifythe early 1980s with Dade County Sherriff’s Office as the beginnings of the“cold case concept” a standard protocol for evaluating cold cases has not yet been identified and implemented, as noted by the Rand Corporation study for the National Instituteof Justice (NIJ). The intent of this article is to provide the readers with two cold case models that can assist in streamlining theevaluation process and possibly significantly contribute to the resolution of cold cases.

Author Biographies

James M. Adcock, PhD
Sarah L. Stein, PhD, Western New England University
Investigative Articles