Facebook Pixel

Miami Cold Cases

Stay on top of all things cold cases, advocacy, and true crime with our twice per week newsletter

Miami, Florida Cold Cases

The city of Miami in Florida is a cultural hub with a large and varied population. There are many unsolved murders and disappearances in this area. Families and loved ones are left in limbo and anguish when these cases drag on for years or even decades without resolution. Here are some numbers that should help put the frequency and intricacy of these cold cases in Miami into perspective.

Around 1,500 unsolved homicides have been reported to the MPD in Miami, some of which date back to the 1970s. There are about 300 unsolved murders in the United States, and all but one of them have been "cold" for at least three years. Several disappearances and missing persons cases have likewise gone cold and have not been solved.

Since 1980, there have been more than 3,000 killings in Miami, with an annual average of about 75. Yet, homicide rates have changed throughout time, rising sharply in the early 1990s before leveling off in more recent decades. There were 61 homicides in the city in 2020, down from 71 the previous year.

Because of the absence of tangible evidence and credible witnesses, investigating cold cases is notoriously difficult. Several of these crimes occurred in the '80s and '90s, when DNA testing and other modern forensic methods were not yet in use. The inability to locate and question eyewitnesses is compounded by the fact that some incidents may have included people who have passed away or relocated.

The absence of funds set aside to investigate cold cases is another obstacle. Due to manpower constraints, detectives who are currently working on ongoing cases are often tasked with investigating cold cases for the MPD. A result of this is that it might be challenging for detectives to give cold cases the attention they need.

The MPD has overcome obstacles and solved some cold cases throughout the city. The agency has established a Cold Case Squad in recent years to examine and inquire into cold cases. In certain instances, investigators have been able to make significant headway thanks to new leads or technological advancements, resulting in arrests and convictions.

Famous cold cases in Miami

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Almost 200 cases from the 1980s and 1990s have yet to be solved as of 2021, leaving many families without closure. The MPD has asked the public to come forward with any leads they may have on cold cases in an effort to remedy this problem. The agency has also made use of various online mediums to spread the word about cold cases in the hopes of finding fresh leads or witnesses.

The MPD isn't the only group helping the families of victims of disappearances and homicides, though; there are also various nonprofits doing this important work. For instance, the Cold Case Foundation is a Miami-based nonprofit that aids the families of missing persons and homicide victims by spreading information about unsolved cases.

In sum, unsolved murder and disappearance cases in Miami are still a major issue. There are still many cold cases from the 1980s and 1990s, despite the MPD's and other groups' best efforts. The community as a whole feels the effects of the lack of resolution for the families and loved ones of the victims. Even if there has been some improvement in the last few years, more time and energy are still required to solve these cases and bring individuals who have suffered justice.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

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 community—together we can do better.

What is Miami Police Department (MPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Miami Police Department (MPD) is typical in employing a number of techniques for solving cold cases.

Starting with all the information and evidence that has been gathered over the years, including witness statements, forensic evidence, and other leads, detectives will review the case file.

It is common practice for detectives to re-examine witnesses to determine whether or not they have learned new information or whether or not their memories have altered after the initial interview.

DNA testing and other forensic procedures are only two examples of how technological advancements might be utilized to evaluate physical evidence and find fresh leads in an investigation.

To help solve the case, detectives may coordinate with other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

The MPD may hold press conferences, post updates on social media, or use other methods to reach out to the community in the hopes that someone with knowledge of the case will come forward.

Dedicated to analyzing and researching cold cases, the investigative experts at many police departments are known as "cold case squads."

The MPD's Cold Case Team is responsible for looking into cold cases. In this squad, you'll find seasoned detectives who have made a career out of investigating cold cases. To crack cold cases, the unit employs a wide range of methods, some of which are described above.

The Homicide Unit of the MPD is responsible for investigating all homicides in the city, including cold cases, not just those that occur recently. The Homicide Unit investigates murders, makes arrests, and presents evidence in court.

Finally, the MPD collaborates with non-profits and victim advocacy groups to aid the loved ones of those who have gone missing or been murdered. Several of these groups provide counseling, legal aid, and other services to help victims' families deal with the loss of a loved one and the complexities of the criminal justice system.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In the city of Miami, Florida, there are a number of resources available to help investigate and solve cold cases. Here are only a few examples:

The Cold Case Squad of the Miami-Dade Police Department investigates cold cases, such as murders and disappearances that have gone unresolved for a long period of time. The unit's veteran detectives employ cutting-edge investigation strategies to bring closure to cold cases.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a special unit devoted to investigating and solving cold cases from across the state. They collaborate with local law enforcement to provide tools and support for investigating and solving such crimes.

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that allows people to report crimes anonymously through a tip line. Any information that helps bring a suspect in on a cold case in Miami can earn you a cash reward from Crime Stoppers.

Department of the Medical Examiner for Miami-Dade County: This office maintains a record of missing person and unidentified body cases. Along with law enforcement, they work to identify the remains of missing persons so that they can finally rest in peace.

Center for Missing & Exploited Children of the United States of America: The NCMEC is a nonprofit that works to find missing children and aid their families. In order to help solve cold cases, they employ a team of forensic artists that make age-progression portraits of missing children.

DNA evidence stored in databases can be used to solve cold cases. Several national DNA databases are available to Miami police, including CODIS and the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs).

Both victims' loved ones and the general public are welcome to use these facilities.

Major cities surrounding Miami, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Hialeah, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Top Miami Cold Cases

Lavita AnthonyRonal AristideJarkeius AdsideAndrew CaballeiroMaureen ShermanCaroline Norris1975 Miami-Dade County John Doe2014 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe2002 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe2004 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe2016 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe1961 Miami-Dade County John Doe1959 Miami-Dade County John Doe1957 Miami-Dade County John Doe1958 Miami-Dade Count John Doe1989 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe1988 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe1987 Miami-Date County Jane Doe1979 Miami-Dade County Jane Doe1971 Miami-Dade County Jane DoeNatanalie PerezTommy DanielsCecil ArgoteVincent ArthursPaul AllardOscar AbadYohannes Arronte-ValdezOsilia RodriguezLucely AramburoMissiah ArroyaJose BernalRonald BoykinMarco CadenasRamon CapellanSerina ClarkJacques DamidauxRaul DiazRamon Diaz FilpoAngela DufreneTariq ElsafiJohn FaixWilliam Forshee SrGustavo FortichAlbert GarciaFelicia GritteEdwin HenaoKeylin JorqueraYansis JuarezTimothy LearyLizzette LimaAlberto LopezNastassia MarshPedro MatonMario MordocheJonathan MordocheIsabella Novo VianaAlicia PadillaFelix PedrajaEusebio PerezJohn PerezManuel Perez-GarciaFritznol PierreJorge PintadoSilvia PocoraLazaro Ramos QuesadaMichael ReyesManuel ReyesIdida Reyes LopezJames RobinsonYulieth Rubio GuzmanNaidelin SandovalSofia SandovalJonathan SandovalSandy SeligmanKai SmaalandAlicia TorresEnrique VallesRichard WatchempinoJames WhetzelRilya WilsonLilah WinterLuis EscotoDenia EscobarMoises VelasquezLedian Campos FrometaPatricia CorbettJustine PierreBeverli DarnellThelerme GeorgesRonnie HerringCarlos Hernandez DuranJorge Medina-cobarrubiasPatricia RiversAlicia Sanchez SerranoRosario GonzalezCarmen CarbonellLaquisha HarrisMichel BarmilArbelio GonzalezAshlynn MaioCayetano Martinez GarayIrene MathesonNoe Perez MatomWanda TrotmanNelson Taffur RodriguezRogelio RodriguezPedro IzquierdoJorge Rodriguez RodriguezJuan Martinez GonzalezArahsette RodriguezOlga Barreiro LopezJerry HendrixJose Diaz-NolascoIsabel RodriguezAdelaida VargasAna Dubon RiveraArnold EpelMikayla DanielArturo AlmanzaMichael ClarkePERTIZ SALAZARWilliam HouranKarina SamsJoseph JohnsonWilliam Forshee, JrDiane RohbeckRichard AliceaJose BarrosoDomingo Bernal de LeonSantana BucknerYadira Cabrales RivaltaNapoleon EglausWilbert FectiluseRoberto Franco (Urena)Lee FultonMauricio GuerreroJames HallGabriel Hernandez GonzalezSigifredo JaramilloEstefani Jimenez SandovalDarlene JohnsonPrince Lewis Jr.Bernard LipscombMarcus MercadoWillie NewmanOscar Nivicela-lojasSelvin Nolasco ManuelezAda PlaEdwin PritchardJose RodriguezReynaldo RodriguezJennifer Scott-brownTracy SmithCalvin SpoonToney TavaresJerome TysonAndres TapiaJuan Herrera AriasRomulus LovensMaria MercyJuan MontoyaSimon Santos-VargasJose DiazAngel HerreraPhillip JeanLarisa MacrielloOrestes PerezStepha HenryRichard RuestTrevor RocaJairo SanchezRogelio SalgadoJohnathan SanchezWalter InnmanOscar Cerrato CentenoJulia Castillo-MeloMaurice DeanMartin BlueLeanne WeggeYakelin LlanesTorrence FarringtonTayron BiondiSimorali NievesAnibal ArochaAaron TapasoaKhori RichardsFernando Senties NietoJuan CamachoMarianela Padron-PalmaJohane Jeanniton