Facebook Pixel

Cedar Rapids Cold Cases

Stay on top of all things cold cases, advocacy, and true crime with our twice per week newsletter

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cold Cases

The disappearance and homicide of people in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has troubled authorities and residents for decades. The Cedar Rapids Police Department has long struggled with the issue of "cold cases," or crimes that go unsolved for a lengthy period of time (CRPD).

More than 150 unsolved homicides and hundreds of missing persons cases have been investigated by the CRPD 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 132,000, Cedar Rapids has a lower homicide rate than many other large American towns. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the problem of missing and murdered people does not exist in Cedar Rapids.

A neighboring high school girl, Michelle Martinko, was murdered in 1979, and in 2012, two teenage cousins, Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, disappeared while bicycling near Evansdale, Iowa, which is about an hour north of Cedar Rapids. Neither case has been solved.

The CRPD has devised 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 CRPD also has tight ties with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The arrest of a suspect in the 1986 murder of a local lady is only one example of the progress that has been made on cold cases thanks to this cooperation.

Famous cold cases in Cedar Rapids

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 Crime Lab of the CRPD employs a staff of DNA analysts whose sole job is to compare and identify DNA samples with possible suspects. Many suspects in unsolved murders in Cedar Rapids have been identified and convicted thanks to DNA evidence.

The CRPD works with local groups and campaigners to get the word out about missing and murdered people 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, the problem of missing and murdered people is still a major issue for authorities and residents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The CRPD and its allies are determined to bring closure to cold cases and justice to victims' loved ones. Yet to solve this problem, authorities, advocates, and the public must work together to educate the public, offer aid, and apprehend the perpetrators.

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 Cedar Rapids Police Department (CRPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Among the methods that CRPD may employ while looking into cold cases are:

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. It's possible that the Cedar Rapids Police Department, learning from past mistakes, has its own unique approach to solving cold cases.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, there are a number of tools at your disposal to help you track down missing persons and solve cold cases, such

There is a special unit within the Cedar Rapids Police Department devoted to investigating cold cases that have gone cold. Get in touch with them at 319-286-5500.

Iowa Cold Cases is a nonprofit with the stated mission of raising awareness about unsolved crimes in the Hawkeye State. They maintain a website where cold cases from all around Iowa, not just Cedar Rapids, are posted.

Crime Stoppers of Cedar Rapids and Linn County is a community-based organization that uses anonymous tips from the general public to solve crimes, even cold cases. Please dial 1-800-CS-CRIME to reach them (1-800-272-7463).

Families and individuals might hire private investigators to look into unsolved mysteries. These experts have done criminal investigations before and can provide valuable insight into the case.

Newspapers and TV stations in a certain area can help bring previous cases back into the public eye and potentially yield new clues. Unsolved crimes may be highlighted in articles that call for information from the general public.

It's worth noting that law enforcement may have exclusive access to or need assistance from some of these sources.

Major cities surrounding Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa
Waterloo, Iowa
Dubuque, Iowa
Davenport, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide