Stay on top of all things cold cases, advocacy, and true crime with our twice per week newsletter
Ames, Iowa Cold Cases
For decades, law enforcement and the people of Ames, Iowa have been troubled by the problem of missing and murdered people. The Ames Police Department has had an ongoing issue with "cold cases," or cases that have gone unsolved for a long time (APD).
The APD has looked into hundreds of missing persons cases and over fifty unsolved homicides since 1980. However, many of these instances have not yet been solved, leaving the victims' loved ones with more questions than answers.
There are now over 200,000 unsolved homicides in the United States, as reported by the National Institute of Justice. With a population of around 70,000, Ames has a significantly lower homicide rate compared to other large U.S. cities. Ames is not exempt from the problem of missing and murdered people, though.
Tammy Zywicki, a college student who disappeared in 1995 and was last seen on Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Illinois, roughly two hours east of Ames, is just one of several high-profile cold cases that have gone unsolved in Ames. Later, in Missouri, her body was discovered.
The APD has techniques to help solve cold cases despite the difficulty of doing so. The establishment of a Cold Case Unit, comprised of detectives trained to investigate cold cases, is one such tactic. These detectives have access to cutting-edge investigation tools and are educated in forensic methods like DNA and fingerprint analysis.
The APD collaborates closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Several cold cases have been solved thanks to the efforts of these investigators working together, including the 1983 slaying of a local businessman.
Famous cold cases in Ames
The use of Genetic evidence is another crucial tactic for examining cold cases. DNA may now be extracted from almost any type of evidence thanks to technological advancements. The DNA analyzers at the APD Crime Lab work to match DNA evidence with suspects in the department's database. Some cold cases in Ames have had suspects identified and eventually convicted thanks to DNA evidence.
The APD also works with local groups and advocates to get the word out about missing and homicide victims and solicit tips from the general public. When someone goes missing in Iowa, it's up to the Missing Person Information Clearinghouse to coordinate the many search and rescue operations that are underway to try and track them down.
Advocates' efforts to bring attention to the problem of missing and murdered people have been crucial, complementing the efforts of law enforcement. The Iowa Cold Cases website was created to inform the public and help victims' families about cold cases in Iowa.
In conclusion, law enforcement and community members in Ames, Iowa continue to face a tremendous difficulty regarding the problem of missing and murdered persons. The APD and its allies are determined to offer closure to victims and their families by solving cold cases. Yet to solve this problem, authorities, advocates, and the public must work together to educate the public, offer aid, and apprehend the perpetrators.
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 Ames Police Department (APD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?
The Anchorage Police Department (APD) might use methods like:
Using cutting-edge forensic tools like DNA analysis and fingerprint matching to the initial case investigation's evidence and forensic reports.
Looking back to the original investigation to see if there are any new leads or information that can be gleaned from the case files, evidence, and witness statements.
The process of re-interviewing suspects, victims, and witnesses to glean new information and spot discrepancies in their stories.
Making use of computers and forensics databases to track down leads and identify suspects.
Using incentives, collaborating with the media, and social media to solicit participation and collect data from the public.
Sharing knowledge and resources with other law enforcement organizations including the FBI and local prosecutors.
Having seasoned investigators look into cold cases on a regular basis in the hopes of finding fresh leads.
It's crucial to keep in mind that the specifics of each cold case may necessitate a different approach from law enforcement. Based on their past work with cold cases, the Ames Police Department may also have their own unique approach.
What resources are available to help solve cold cases?
A number of tools exist in Ames, Iowa, to aid in the investigation of unsolved crimes. Among these are:
The Ames Police Department's Cold Case Unit is in charge of looking into cold cases. Expert detectives work in the unit, employing cutting-edge methods and tools in their pursuit of answers to these cases.
The Cold Case Unit at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) collaborates with local law enforcement agencies around the state to investigate and solve cold cases. The team helps local law enforcement by analyzing evidence and providing additional support, and it also makes sure that all leads are followed.
Central Iowa Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that offers prizes for information that helps to apprehend and convict criminals. Tips can be sent anonymously, and the organization will collaborate with law enforcement to investigate and ultimately solve any crime, even cold cases.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a non-profit group dedicated to finding missing children and stopping child exploitation. The group also helps authorities who are looking into incidents of missing or mistreated children.
Information on cold cases in the state of Iowa is available at the Iowa Cold Cases website, which is updated by a team of retired police officers. The site provides descriptions of cases, as well as images and other material, and invites users to make suggestions and leads.
Major cities surrounding Ames, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Kansas City, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri