Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a city that has faced its fair share of cold cases involving missing or murdered people. Time, a lack of evidence, and, frequently, the absence of witnesses make it difficult to solve these types of cases.
According to statistics from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), there are over 50 open cold cases involving missing or murdered people in Tuscaloosa since 1980. Twenty-six of these incidents include missing persons, while twenty-four involve murder victims. Regrettably, many of these instances remain unresolved, leaving the victims' families without closure.
One of the major challenges with cold cases is the fact that they can become increasingly difficult to solve as time passes. Witnesses may forget details or move away, evidence may deteriorate or become lost, and the trail of the perpetrator may become cold. If the case isn't solved soon, the victims' loved ones may lose interest and give up looking for them as time passes, significantly diminishing the likelihood of finding them alive.
Despite these challenges, law enforcement agencies in Tuscaloosa and across the country are continuing to work to solve cold cases. One technique that has proven beneficial in some cases is the use of advanced forensic technologies, such as DNA testing and analysis. Investigators may re-examine old evidence with the latest technology, which can help identify suspects and potentially exonerate those who were wrongfully convicted.
The use of social media and other technologies by law enforcement can supplement the findings of forensic science and provide additional leads and information. For example, they may use social media platforms to publicize a case, ask for tips from the public, or share information about new developments. NamUs is a database that law enforcement agencies can use to share information and work together across the country.