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Augusta Cold Cases

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Augusta, Georgia Cold Cases

Over 200,000 people call the Augusta-Richmond County in eastern Georgia home. The city is well-known for its historical sites and golf courses, but it has also had its fair share of mysterious disappearances and homicides that have never been solved. Some of these unsolved cases go back to the 1980s, leaving behind devastated families and friends. The following data shed light on the frequency and severity of such occurrences in Augusta-Richmond County.

The Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Office (ARCSO) reports that there are more than fifty unsolved homicides in the 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.

Over 300 killings have occurred in Augusta-Richmond County since 1980, or about 6 or 7 per 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 and resource constraints, the ARCSO frequently delegates cold case inquiries to investigators who are otherwise engaged in ongoing investigations. A result of this is that it might be challenging for detectives to give cold cases the attention they need.

The ARCSO has overcome obstacles and made headway in solving cold cases in the county. 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 Augusta

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 ARCSO has asked members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on unsolved crimes in order to help with this problem. The agency has also made public pleas for help on social media and other channels, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

The ARCSO isn't the only group trying to shed light on cold cases and provide solace to bereaved families; there are many more. 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, missing and slain persons situations that go unsolved for a long time are still a major issue in Augusta-Richmond County. Several cases from the 1980s and 1990s remain unresolved despite the ARCSO'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 Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (ARCSO)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (ARCSO) has a number of strategies for investigating unsolved cases, including cold cases. 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.

Utilizing DNA and other forensic technology: The ARCSO uses DNA testing and other forensic technology to re-examine physical evidence from the crime scene, such as fingerprints, blood samples, and hairs.

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 ARCSO uses several methods, including as the Crime Stoppers hotline and social media, to solicit information from the public and follow up on leads.

Collaborating with other entities: The ARCSO may coordinate with other entities, such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to compile data and resources necessary to crack the case.

The ARCSO has a special unit whose job it is to look into cold cases and determine why they haven't been solved yet.

The ARCSO has also called on members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on 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 ARCSO also 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.

Generally, the ARCSO utilizes a holistic approach to investigate unresolved situations, including cold cases, and works closely with other agencies and the community to obtain information and solve these cases.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

When it comes to solving cold cases in Augusta, Georgia, there are a number of resources at your disposal:

The Cold Case Unit of the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Office investigates and follows up on cold cases in the local area.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is a state agency that aids local police departments in their investigations of criminal activity, including cold cases. For cold cases like murders and disappearances, they have a special team working tirelessly to find answers.

The Cold Case Foundation is a charitable organization that aids law enforcement and the families of victims of crimes that remain unsolved by providing them with information, resources, and training.

Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit that operates a confidential tip line for the public to utilize in reporting information about crimes, including cold cases, that have yet to be solved.

NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified People System): NamUs is a national database of missing persons and unidentified remains cases that provides forensic analysis, DNA analysis, and other investigative resources to aid in identifying and solving cases.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a regional office in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves as a resource for local law enforcement in solving cold cases.

Major cities surrounding Augusta, Georgia

Columbia, South Carolina
Athens, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Greenville, South Carolina

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