Facebook Pixel

Ann Arbor Cold Cases

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

Ann Arbor, Michigan Cold Cases

Many homicides and disappearances have gone decades without resolution in the Michigan city of Ann Arbor. More than twenty homicides have gone unsolved in Ann Arbor since the 1970s, and many of these are considered cold cases, according to the police. Since 1980, we've compiled some data on unsolved murder and disappearance cases in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There have been approximately 300 incidents of missing people recorded in Ann Arbor between 1980 and 2021, with about two-thirds being adults and the remaining one-third involving minors. Some of these cases go unsolved for a long time, even though the vast majority are eventually closed.

There are approximately 2,000 unsolved missing person cases in the state of Michigan at present, and several dozen of those are in the city of Ann Arbor alone, as reported by NamUs. Adults, rather than minors, make up the vast majority of victims in these situations.

Around a third of the approximately 50 homicides that occurred in the city of Ann Arbor between 1980 and 2021 have not been solved. Many of these incidents have not been resolved and are still being looked at.

Murder investigations are the responsibility of the Ann Arbor Police Department, but due to resource constraints, many murders in the city go unsolved. Lack of physical evidence, unwilling witnesses, and a lack of information all contribute to the large percentage of unresolved homicide cases.

The Ann Arbor Police Department and other local groups have been actively lobbying for more funding and attention to be directed toward solving cold cases. The department developed a cold case website in 2021 with details on how the public can provide information and tips regarding unresolved homicide and missing person cases.

Famous cold cases in Ann Arbor

Technological progress has also contributed to the resolution of cold cases. DNA analysis and other forensic techniques have allowed police to revisit old cases in the hopes of finding new leads or new pieces of evidence.

The importance of solving cold cases extends beyond the victims' loved ones and into the larger community. These instances frequently involve acts of violence that have been ignored, freeing the offender to perpetrate other acts of violence.

Also, resolving cold cases can give victims and their loved ones a feeling of closure and justice. Many victims' loved ones spend years, perhaps decades, seeking for answers; settling a cold case might finally give them peace of mind.

The large number of unsolved cases of homicide and disappearance in Ann Arbor, Michigan since 1980 highlights the importance of maintaining efforts to raise awareness and dedicate resources for these investigations. There is optimism that some of these cases may be solved, bringing closure and justice to the families of the victims, thanks to technological developments and improved collaboration between law enforcement and community organizations.

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 Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Unsolved murder and disappearance cases are investigated by the Ann Arbor Police Department's Cold Case Unit. Members of the unit have undergone specific training to learn how to investigate cold cases.

These are some of the typical actions used by the unit when examining cold cases:

The detectives will look over all of the available evidence, witness statements, and other information linked to the case to see if there are any new leads or information that was missed during the initial investigation.

Detectives will try to track down and re-interview those who were interviewed during the initial investigation to determine if they have any new information or insights that could lead to an arrest or guilty plea.

Evidence from the case may be reexamined using cutting-edge forensic techniques, such as DNA or fingerprint analysis.

Working with the FBI or the Michigan State Police, for example, could provide the unit with access to additional resources and expertise as it investigates the crime.

The team may go public with details of the investigation via channels like press releases and social media in the hopes that someone would come forward with information.

The investigators may keep in touch with the family of the victim on a regular basis to give them updates on the case and show their support.

The Cold Case Unit of the Ann Arbor Police Department is dedicated to exhausting all avenues in an effort to solve these cold cases and provide closure to the victims' loved ones.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan has a number of tools at its disposal to help in cold case investigations:

A detective bureau within the Ann Arbor Police Department looks into unsolved crimes. Cases are solved by a collaborative effort between multiple organizations and cutting-edge technologies.

There is a cold case unit within the Michigan State Police that provides support to other law enforcement organizations. Their forensic analytical tools and technology are cutting edge.

NamUs is a national database that aids in the identification of missing individuals and unidentified remains. The public, as well as medical examiners and law police, have access to this information.

Unsolved Crimes in Michigan: Michigan Unsolved homicide and disappearance cases in the state of Michigan are highlighted on Cold Cases. The website details the investigations and solicits tips from the general public.

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that encourages members of the public to anonymously disclose information concerning criminal activity. They have reward programs in place for those who provide information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

Major cities surrounding Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ypsilanti, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Dearborn, Michigan
Novi, Michigan
Toledo, Ohio

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide