We’re building a platform to uncover answers about missing persons cold cases that could be solved through collective impact—join us!

We believe the more resources we can provide to digital volunteers and citizen solvers mean more “citizen detective” communities.

Citizen Detective Guide Cover
We’re using the power of collective impact to bring peace to families of murdered or missing people by combining data, technology, and the wisdom
of the community.

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime communitytogether we can do better.

There are many tools in the cold case toolbox and no one person knows how to use them all to their full potential. Thankfully, you don’t have to. You just need to have a collection of people that do.

— Gene Miller, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Criminal Investigator, High Priority Offender Unit,
National Best Practices for Implementing and Sustaining a Cold Case Investigation Unit

While the podcast Serial may have ignited new interest in true crime in the last few years, people are switching from entertainment consumption to a passion for activism to help solve cold cases.

We’ve created a step-by-step guide to develop your unique abilities, test your knowledge, and even discover new talents. We need more Citizen Detectives to polish their skills to join us at Uncovered!

What you’ll learn with this guide
• Spark new insights for how you perceive information
• Understand key components to request public information
• Support further education and skill development
• Evaluate key processes for data collection
• Engage diverse methods in desktop research

The guide also comes with work space so you can map out your next case and prepare for the launch of Uncovered to combine publicly available information, with the ever-growing wisdom of the crowd, to do something that matters and find the intersection of justice, peace, and closure for families.

What 500 people have to say about true crime

We heard you when you said:
“I would definitely already be willing; I just wouldn’t know where to start!”

“Knowing my own potential to help and being armed with tools to help without disrupting ongoing investigation”

“Being able to identify clear opportunities to gather information that (I) was not looking into.”

“Feeling like I could make a meaningful contribution to it. Is there a path to get my research to someone who could affect the outcome?”

We took notice when:
89% of those surveyed said that they look for additional info on cases on more than one platform.

62% of people say they would take action by collaborating with others if they knew the victim.

On average, true crime and cold case info come from 4 to 5 sources with podcasts and documentaries leading.

Families Deserve Answers; Victims Deserve A Voice, And No One Should Be A Statistic.

Together We Can
Make A Difference

We’re combining publicly available information, with the ever-growing wisdom of the crowd, to do something that matters and find the intersection of justice, peace, and closure for families. Stay up-to-date with the latest case details.

Missing Persons Cold Cases Solved

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUS) database shows in its data that there are an estimated 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year, as well as over 4,400 sets of remains that have yet to be identified. Although many of these missing persons are often found alive, individuals who remain missing for long periods of time often have a higher chance of foul play being involved. Missing persons cases that ended in tragedy and remain unsolved to this day include the disappearance and suspected homicide of; Hannah Truelove, Kurt Sova, and Adam Walsh.

Missing persons found dead years later are often labeled as Jane or John Does due to their remains being unidentifiable. NamUS’ missing persons database, as previously mentioned, includes over 40,000 sets of remains that have not been identified. These Jane/John Does are sometimes identified quickly due to DNA technology, however many become cold over time, and may never be solved. On the other hand, more commonly, missing people are found much more often, although you may not see much media attention once a previously missing person is found.

If you find yourself interested in researching a missing persons case, you might find yourself searching Google for terms such as; missing persons cases found alive, missing people found dead, or missing persons found stories. If you are more interested in recent cases, which might receive more media attention, you might find yourself searching for things such as; missing persons cases 2020, or missing person found dead 2019.

Mysterious Disappearances

Many haunting missing persons cases can be better described as mysterious disappearances, when someone simply disappears, with little to no information about their whereabouts or the circumstances regarding their disappearance. Unlike many other missing persons cases, these mysterious disappearances lack the when, where, why, and often the how that is necessary in order to solve the case and bring resolution to friends and family of the missing person. As an example, we’ve visualized numerous chilling missing persons cases on Uncovered, including the disappearances of Asha Degree, Brandon Lawson, Brian Shaffer, Maura Murray, Sage Smith, and Brianna Maitland, among others. Each of these cases have seen no resolution, some of them seeking resolution for decades.

Alternatively, many mysterious missing persons cases are solved, whether ending in a happy reunion, or in tragedy. The search for missing 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart who had been kidnapped from her bed in 2002 ended nine months later when she was finally found and reunited with her family. Another famous missing persons’ case that ended with a miracle is the famous case of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina DeJesus, who were kidnapped by Ariel Castro and held in his home for almost 11 years in secret. Eventually, in 2013, the young women were found and rescued from his grasp. Each of these true missing persons stories are shocking, haunting, and often unbelievable, and leave the families and friends of these victims holding their loved ones a bit tighter at night, and often use their experiences to help others with missing loved ones.

How Many Missing Persons Are Never Found

If you are interested in researching missing persons, the biggest questions on your mind might be: how many missing persons are never found?, and what is the percentage of missing persons found alive? According to the National Institute of Justice in an article released in 2018, 76% of the resolved missing persons cases entered into NamUS’ missing persons database were found alive, leaving 24% of the resolved missing persons to be found deceased. Statistics for those missing persons who are never found are not easily accessible, most likely because the number is relative to ongoing investigations as well as how long the individual has been missing.

In the United States alone there are over 200,000 unsolved cold cases, some of which are recent cold cases, others have been unsolved, or labeled as “cold” for decades. Although this number is startling, and seems to be rising every year, cold cases are continuing to be solved every year due in part to advancements in forensics and DNA technology. Some recently solved cold cases in 2019 using advanced DNA technology includes the 1972 murder of Jody Loomis, the 1993 murder of Sophie Sergie, and the 1988 murder of Alice Haynsworth Ryan, among many others. More recently solved cold cases in 2020 due to DNA technology includes the 1973 murder of Naomi Sanders, the 1996 murder of Jessica Baggen, and the 1986 murder of Lisa Holstead, among many others. Companies such as Othram Inc. and Parabon Labs are working diligently with DNA evidence on some of the most famous unsolved murders as well as some of the most gruesome unsolved murders to attempt to solve the case.

Sadly, both missing persons and murder cold cases continue to go unsolved today. More recent unsolved murders, which we have worked to visualize on Uncovered include the 2017 murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, the unsolved 2016 murder of Terri “Missy” Bevers, and the 2012 murder of Faith Hedgepeth. The best place to start when researching a cold case are the case files. Although real unsolved case files are not always available to the general public and are usually hard to find, there are plenty of resources online which can lead you to find all released information regarding the specific cold case you are interested in.

Unsolved Cold Cases

In the United States alone, there are over 200,000 unsolved cold cases, some of which are decades old, and others occurred more recently. If you’re interested in beginning your journey into becoming a Citizen Detective by researching unsolved murders in the USA, you are able to find several cold case databases online, each with differing lists of cold cases, including Project: Cold Case, and many local law enforcement agencies. Another way to find a list of cold cases is by simply Googling it. There are many different websites that have articles written about different types of cold cases. If you have already been looking around for cold case lists, you might be using search terms such as unsolved murders USA or strange cases of unsolved disappearances.

If you’re interested in the popular true crime series ‘Unsolved Mysteries’, you might find yourself looking not only into the cases they’ve covered, but also cases they covered that have been solved since the episode first aired. If this is the case, you might find yourself searching for unsolved mysteries that have finally been solved, or more broadly, weird murders solved. Unsolved Mysteries has been credited over the years for leading to major increases in tips sent to law enforcement in cases that have gone completely cold for years or even decades, as well as even having a handful of the cases being solved, some leading to convictions.

Cold Cases Solved By DNA Technology

Cold cases solved by DNA technology are becoming more frequent than ever before, due to major advancements in not only genealogy but also forensic technology. Some of the most famous cold cases solved by DNA technology include the Golden State Killer and the Boston Strangler. With the advancements of DNA technology in recent years, investigators all over the world are retesting evidence from cold cases and are constantly solving cold cases by using the forensic evidence from when the crime initially occurred.

These cold cases solved by forensics and DNA technology are becoming more frequent in the past, leading to cases that are decades old being solved by retesting evidence. For example, cold cases solved in 2020 with DNA technology include the famous unsolved child murder of Baby April, who was murdered in 1992 by an unknown suspect, now identified as Angela Renee Siebke. Another example of DNA used in famous solved murders include the 1984 murder of Christine Jessup, the 1985 murder of Tonya McKinley, and the 1993 abduction and murder of Angie Housman.

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