By definition, "cold cases" are those criminal investigations that have dragged on for years, if not decades, without a satisfactory resolution. Cases like these, which can include everything from a murder to a disappearance to a sexual assault, can leave communities and families with unresolved questions and lasting anguish. Stamford, Connecticut, is home to nearly 130,000 people, and the city's many unsolved cold cases have left locals wondering if they will ever see justice.
Almost 200,000 murders in the United States remain unsolved, reports the National Institute of Justice. Among those, more than 40% have happened in the last three decades. Since 1980, more than half of the fifty homicides that have occurred in Stamford have not been solved. These figures show just how urgent it is to keep working to solve these issues.
There have been a number of homicides and unsolved missing person incidents in Stamford. There are more than 20 active cases of missing people in Stamford, according to the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs). Individuals of all ages, both sexes, and all walks of life, including those who have run away, those with mental illness, and those who have been victims of crime, can fall into this category.
The resolution of cold cases is typically challenging. If a crime goes unsolved for too long, the offender probably won't be caught and punished. But, technological progress has provided investigators with new resources and methods to investigate cold cases. Particularly, DNA evidence has become an important tool in the investigation and resolution of cold cases. A single hair or a single drop of blood can be enough DNA evidence to identify a suspect and solve a case that has gone cold for years.
Although solving cold cases can be difficult, there have been successes in Stamford and elsewhere. DNA evidence was used by Stamford, Connecticut, police in 2019 to crack a case from 1984. Genetic evidence collected at the crime scene helped police determine who killed the 22-year-old woman. A relative DNA search led to the identification of the suspect, who was in his 70s at the time of his arrest. An individual's relatives' DNA is looked up in a database in the hopes that a match may help identify an unidentified suspect.