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Honolulu Cold Cases

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Honolulu, Hawaii Cold Cases

A number of murders and disappearances have gone unsolved in Honolulu, Hawaii, a beautiful and busy metropolis on the island of Oahu. Some of these incidents occurred as far back as the 1980s, and they continue to cause worry and anguish to those closest to the victims even today. These numbers shed light on the frequency and severity of these incidents in Honolulu.

The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) reports that there are over 400 unsolved homicide cases in Honolulu city and county, some of which date back to the 1960s. Around half 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.

There have been over 500 homicides in Honolulu since 1980, or about 10–12 on average every year. While homicide rates have been relatively stable over the long term, they peaked in the 1990s and have since declined.

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

The HPD has overcome obstacles and solved 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 Honolulu

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Almost 50 cases from the 1980s and 1990s have yet to be solved as of 2021, leaving many families without closure. The HPD has asked for the public's assistance in solving these cases by reporting any leads 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.

In addition to the HPD, there are a number of private groups helping the families of victims of disappearances and homicides. The state of Hawaii's Department of the Attorney General, for instance, maintains a Cold Case Unit that collaborates with local law enforcement to investigate and resolve cold cases.

Finally, unsolved murder and disappearance cases in Honolulu are an ongoing issue. There are still many cold cases from the 1980s and 1990s, despite the HPD'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 Honolulu Police Department (HPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) uses a variety of techniques to look into cold cases and other situations that have not been solved. Examples of such 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.

In order to reexamine tangible evidence from a crime scene, like as fingerprints, blood samples, and hairs, the HPD employs DNA testing and other forensic technology.

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 HPD utilizes programs like CrimeStoppers and social media in order to increase the number of tips and leads they receive from the general public.

The HPD may partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General's Cold Case Unit in order to pool resources and acquire additional information to solve the case.

The HPD has a special unit whose job it is to look into cold cases and conduct investigations into them.

The HPD has also called for members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on cold cases. CrimeStoppers is a program that pays out incentives to those who provide information that leads to an arrest or indictment in any crime case, even old ones.

When it comes to helping the relatives of those who have gone missing or been murdered, the HPD 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 HPD takes a holistic approach to solving unresolved cases, including cold cases, by coordinating with other organizations and the public to collect evidence and find the perpetrators.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In Honolulu, Hawaii, there are a number of resources available to investigate and potentially solve cold cases. For example:

The Honolulu Police Department has a special unit whose sole purpose is to look into and hopefully solve cold cases. They coordinate with other authorities and the public to investigate and solve crimes.

CrimeStoppers Honolulu is a nonprofit organization that pays cash rewards for information that helps police make arrests and bring offenders to justice. They collaborate closely with the police to solve cases and offer a hotline where people can report information anonymously.

The Division of Missing People at the Hawaii Department of Public Safety actively seeks out missing people and investigates cold cases. They collaborate closely with the police, the medical examiner, and the public in order to solve crimes.

The University of Hawaii in Manoa is home to the Cold Case Project, an organization devoted to reopening and solving cold cases from the islands of Hawaii. They collaborate with the police, the medical examiner, and the forensics team to find clues and solve crimes.

The Murder Victims' Families Hawaii's Murder Victims' Relatives Hawaii is a charity that helps the friends and family of murder victims. As a result of their efforts, more people are learning about cold cases, and that means more people can help those families get answers and closure.

Many tools are at your disposal in Honolulu to help bring closure to cold cases. Community members are encouraged to come forward with any information they may have and these resources work together to gather information and solve crimes.

Major cities surrounding Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Kahului, Hawaii
Lihue, Hawaii

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