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Athens Cold Cases

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Athens, Georgia Cold Cases

Over 127,000 people call Athens-Clarke County, Georgia home. The city has a thriving music scene and beautiful old buildings, but it also has a number of missing persons and murder cases that have never been solved. Some of these unsolved cases go back to the 1980s, leaving behind devastated families and friends. The data below shed light on the frequency and severity of such incidents in Athens-Clarke County.

The ACCPD reports that there are over 50 unsolved homicides in Athens-Clarke County, some of which date back to the 1970s. About ten of these cases are considered "cold" since they have not had a lead in at least three years. Several disappearances and missing persons cases have likewise gone cold and have not been solved.

There have been around 200 killings in Athens-Clarke County since 1980, or around 4 or 5 each year on average. Homicide rates have varied over time, rising sharply in the early 2000s before leveling off in more recent years.

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. Because to manpower constraints, detectives who are currently working on ongoing cases are typically tasked with investigating cold cases for the ACCPD. A result of this is that it might be challenging for detectives to give cold cases the attention they need.

Some of the county's cold cases have been solved, despite difficulties, thanks to the efforts of the ACCPD. 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 Athens

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Over ten instances from the 1980s and 1990s remain unsolved as 2021 approaches, leaving many families without closure. The ACCPD has asked members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on these incidents. The agency has also made public pleas for help on social media and other channels, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

The ACCPD isn't the only group helping to raise awareness about cold cases and provide resources to relatives of the missing and murdered. For instance, in Georgia, local law enforcement agencies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's (GBI) Cold Case Unit collaborate to investigate and solve cold cases.

In sum, unsolved incidents of homicide and disappearance in Athens-Clarke County are far from a thing of the past. Several cases from the 1980s and 1990s remain unresolved, despite the ACCPD's and others' 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 Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Unsolved and "cold" cases are investigated in a variety of ways by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD). Among these methods are:

Evidence will be reexamined and reanalyzed by detectives, who will look through everything they found during the original investigation and then use any new tools and methods they have at their disposal.

Crime scene physical evidence including fingerprints, blood samples, and hairs are re-examined by the ACCPD using DNA testing and other forensic techniques.

Investigators will conduct follow-up interviews with previously interviewed witnesses and suspects to glean any further information that may be useful in solving the case.

The ACCPD uses many methods, including the Crime Stoppers program and social media, to solicit information from the public and follow up on leads and tips.

Collaboration with other entities The ACCPD may coordinate with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to pool resources and expertise in order to solve the case.

The ACCPD has a special unit whose job it is to look into cold cases and determine why they remain unresolved.

Additionally, the ACCPD has solicited tips from the public in an effort to solve cold cases. As part of their Crime Stoppers initiative, they provide monetary prizes for information that leads to an arrest or indictment in any crime case, including cold ones.

When it comes to helping the relatives of those who have gone missing or been murdered, the ACCPD collaborates closely with victim advocacy groups and non-profit organizations. 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.

The ACCPD uses a wide range of resources and methods to investigate unsolved and cold cases, and it collaborates closely with other organizations and the local community to find answers.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Athens, Georgia, offers a number of tools to aid in the resolution of cold cases, including:

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has a cold case squad that focuses on solving cold crimes like homicides and disappearances that have gone unresolved for a long time. The squad is manned by professional detectives who employ a variety of investigation approaches to solve crimes.

Department of Law Enforcement Support Services: Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) The GBI is a state agency that assists local law enforcement with investigations. Along with local law enforcement, the agency's Cold Case Unit investigates cold cases.

To report criminal activities anonymously, the public can contact Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit organization. They have a special initiative for investigating unsolved mysteries.

The Innocence Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law is dedicated to assisting anyone who believe they were unfairly convicted of a crime. The clinic also helps with cold case investigations and works to clear innocent people of false convictions.

Athens is home to a number of private investigation firms, some of which focus solely on solving unsolved mysteries. These services can be pricey, but they can give additional resources and expertise in handling tough issues.

Major cities surrounding Athens, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia
Augusta, Georgia
Greenville, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Chattanooga, Tennessee

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