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Columbus Cold Cases

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Columbus, Georgia Cold Cases

Over 200,000 people call the Georgia city of Columbus home. It has its fair number of unsolved murder and disappearance cases, as do other major urban areas. These lawsuits, which can drag on for decades without resolution, cause untold suffering and anxiety among loved ones. These are some numbers that should give you an idea of how common and complicated these cold cases are in Columbus.

The Columbus Police Department (CPD) reports that there are over 800 active homicide investigations in the city, some of which date back to the 1970s. Over 100 of these cases are considered "cold" since they have been unsolved for more than three years. Several disappearances and missing persons cases have likewise gone cold and have not been solved.

The city of Columbus, Georgia, has experienced approximately 500 homicides since 1980, or about 10–15 each year on average. Yet, homicide rates have changed throughout time, rising sharply in the early 1990s before leveling off in more recent decades.

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

Though obstacles remain, the CPD has made headway in solving some of the city's cold cases. 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 Columbus

Still, a lot of progress has been made. As of the year 2021, there are over a hundred cold cases that date back to the 1980s and 1990s, leaving many families without closure. The CPD has asked the public for assistance in solving these crimes by sharing any information they may have. The agency has also made public pleas for help on social media and other channels, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) isn't the only group trying to shed light on cold cases and provide assistance to bereaved families; several nonprofits do as well. 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 conclusion, missing persons and homicides that go unsolved are still an issue in Columbus. The CPD and others have worked hard, yet many cases from the 1980s and 1990s remain unsolved. 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 Columbus Police Department (CPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Columbus Police Department (CPD) employs many methods to shed light on unresolved and "cold" investigations. 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.

The CPD uses forensic science and technology, including DNA testing, to reexamine tangible evidence collected at the site of a crime, 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 Columbus Police Department (CPD) utilizes the Crime Stoppers program and other online resources to solicit tips and leads from the general public.

The CPD may collaborate with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies and professionals to collect data and resources to solve the case.

The Columbus Police Department has what they call a "cold case squad" whose job it is to look into cold cases.

In addition, the CPD has solicited tips from the public in an effort to close 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 CPD 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.

In general, the CPD adopts a multipronged strategy to investigate unresolved cases, including cold cases, and collaborates closely with other agencies and the community to obtain information and solve these cases.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Many tools exist in Columbus, Georgia, to aid in the investigation of unsolved crimes. Among these are:

The Cold Case Murder Unit of the Columbus Police Department is solely dedicated to investigating and solving cold homicide cases. Unsolved homicides are examined by the team in an effort to find new clues and evidence that will help bring the cases to a close.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is a governmental agency that assists local police departments with criminal investigations, including homicides. Unsolved crimes are reviewed and investigated by the GBI's Cold Case Unit in conjunction with local law enforcement.

Columbus Crime Stoppers is a community-based organization that pays cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of a criminal. Crime Stoppers has the potential to be a useful resource in reviving cold cases by eliciting useful tips from the public.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a non-profit organization that works with law enforcement to help find missing and exploited children. If you are conducting an investigation into child abduction or exploitation, the NCMEC can help.

DNA analysis New developments in DNA testing have led to important discoveries in the investigation of cold cases. Together with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, law enforcement in Columbus can employ DNA testing to find fresh clues in cold cases.

Cold cases in the Georgia city of Columbus may benefit from a mix of these tools.

Major cities surrounding Columbus, Georgia

Montgomery, Alabama
Atlanta, Georgia
Auburn, Alabama
Macon, Georgia
Albany, Georgia

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