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Tallahassee Cold Cases

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Tallahassee, Florida Cold Cases

The capital of Florida, Tallahassee, has a disturbing history of unsolved murders and disappearances. Families and loved ones are left in limbo and anguish when these cases drag on for years or even decades without resolution. These are some numbers that should help put the frequency and intricacy of these Tallahassee cold cases into perspective.

Around 200 unsolved homicides, some dating back to the 1970s, have been reported to the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD). About eighty of these cases are considered "cold," or unsolved for at least three years. Several disappearances and missing persons cases have likewise gone cold and have not been solved.

Tallahassee has seen around 500 homicides since 1980, or about 12 per year on average. The number of homicides, however, has changed over time, rising sharply in the late 1990s and early 2000s before falling in more recent years. The city's homicide rate dropped from 18 in 2019 to 11 in 2020.

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 typically tasked with investigating cold cases for the TPD. A result of this is that it might be challenging for detectives to give cold cases the attention they need.

The TPD has made headway in solving some of the city's cold cases despite the difficulties that have arisen. For the past few years, the agency has established a special unit to examine and reexamine 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 Tallahassee

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Almost seventy cases dating back to the 1980s and 1990s remain unsolved as of 2021, leaving many families without closure. The Toronto Police Department (TPD) has asked members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on cold cases. 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 TPD isn't the only group trying to shed light on cold cases and help out grieving families; other nonprofits do, too. Big Bend Crime Stoppers, situated in Tallahassee, is one such group; they operate a confidential tip line and offer rewards to anyone who can shed light on a crime, even if it happened a long time ago.

In sum, unsolved murder and disappearance cases in Tallahassee are an ongoing issue. Despite the TPD's and other groups' best efforts, many crimes from the '80s and '90s remain unresolved. 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 Tallahassee Police Department (TPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), like many others, may use a variety of techniques to solve cold cases.

Evidence is re-examined by looking at it again, from physical objects to witness testimony to surveillance tapes. As forensic science develops, it may become possible to reexamine evidence that has already been gathered.

The police may revisit the crime scene and question potential witnesses, relatives, and others who may have information that will lead to an arrest.

Sharing information and resources, police may team up with other law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Authorities might utilize social media to ask the public for help, update them on the investigation, and encourage any potential witnesses to come forward.

Even if there have been no fresh leads, police may reexamine cold cases on a regular basis to see if any new information has surfaced or whether technological advancements could lead to a solution.

The Toronto Police Service has a special team called the Cold Case Unit that looks 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 TPD's Murder Unit is responsible for looking into all homicides in the city, including cold cases. The Homicide Unit investigates murders, makes arrests, and presents evidence in court.

The TPD also requests the public's assistance in solving cold cases by reporting any relevant information they may have. To encourage members of the public to come forward with information that could lead to the resolution of cases, the department has established a tip line and rewards program.

Finally, the TPD 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?

Tallahassee, Florida, has a multitude of tools at its disposal to investigate cold cases.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) runs a program called Cold Case Playing Cards, which disseminate decks of cards detailing cold cases such as murders and disappearances that have yet to be solved. The goal of the initiative is to uncover fresh facts and potential solutions to past crimes. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) maintains a Missing and Endangered People Information Clearinghouse to aid in the search for missing people.

The Tallahassee Police Department has a special team called the Cold Case Unit that looks into cold cases of homicide. In order to solve cold cases, the unit collaborates closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other law enforcement organizations.

Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization that accepts anonymous tips and information concerning criminal activity from the general public. The organization can be helpful in generating new leads in cold cases because it gives prizes for tips that lead to arrests and convictions.

The Florida State University Cold Case Project is an effort by the university's Faculty of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Leon County Sheriff's Office to solve cold cases. Unsolved homicides in the Tallahassee region are being looked into as part of the study, and local law enforcement is being given access to relevant resources and instruction.

The Doe Network is a global group dedicated to connecting missing person situations with unidentifiable people. The group collaborates with law enforcement and families to try to identify missing people by using a database of information about them. For cold cases where the victim's identity is unknown, this could be a helpful tool.

Major cities surrounding Tallahassee, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Panama City, Florida
Dothan, Alabama
Albany, Georgia

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