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Rochester Cold Cases

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Rochester, Minnesota Cold Cases

Rochester, Minnesota, has a population of just over 100 thousand, making it a somewhat sized city. Rochester, however, is not alone among American towns in having its fair number of cold cases that have lingered for years, if not decades, without a resolution. Since 1980, we've compiled some data on unsolved cases of murder and disappearance in Rochester, Minnesota.

Many cases of missing people have been documented in Rochester between 1980 and 2021, with adults making up the vast majority of those who went missing. A large majority of these cases get solved at some point, however a tiny number are considered cold cases because they have never been investigated.

Almost 700 people are listed as missing in Minnesota on the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs), with many of them from the city of Rochester. Adults, rather than minors, make up the vast majority of victims in these situations.

Almost 20 people were murdered in Rochester between 1980 and 2021, and over a third of those murders have never been solved. Many of these incidents have not been resolved and are still being looked at.

These crimes are supposed to be investigated by the Rochester Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division, but due to a lack of manpower and funding, many of them have yet to be solved. Lack of physical evidence, unwilling witnesses, and a lack of information all contribute to the large percentage of unresolved homicide cases.

Famous cold cases in Rochester

Technological progress has helped bring closure to long-unsolved mysteries. 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.

Since 1980, Rochester, Minnesota has had a disproportionately high number of unsolved missing person and homicide cases, highlighting the importance of maintaining advocacy for these cases and allocating sufficient resources to solve them. 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 Rochester Police Department (RPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Rochester Police Department maintains a Cold Case Unit that looks into cold crimes including murders and disappearances that have yet to be solved. 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 Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, for example, might provide the unit with access to even more resources and knowledge as it works to solve the case.

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 Rochester Police Department's Cold Case Unit is dedicated to using all resources at its disposal to finally solve these crimes and give victims' loved ones some peace of mind. The department also actively seeks for public participation and feedback in fixing these cases. Each and every lead is pursued by the unit, and the department's cold case website allows the public to submit tips and information relevant to these investigations.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Cold case investigators in Rochester, Minnesota, have access to a number of resources, including the following:

The Rochester, New York, Police Department maintains a special team of detectives whose sole job is to look into cold cases. Several methods, including DNA analysis, are employed in order to solve these crimes.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in Minnesota helps local police with cold case investigations. They have something called the Cold Case Unit, and they collaborate with other law enforcement organizations to finally close cold cases.

NamUs, or the National Missing and Unidentified People System, is a centralized database that may be used to locate and verify the identities of people who have gone missing or are otherwise unknown. Police departments, coroners, and anybody else interested can search the database.

The Minnesota Cold Case Playing Cards are a deck of cards that feature information about cold cases that remain unresolved in the state of Minnesota. These are given out to Minnesota jail inmates in the hopes that they will have knowledge to help solve these crimes.

Families of victims might employ private investigators to look into unsolved cases on their behalf. They might employ unique methods and resources to find fresh clues.

In Rochester, Minnesota, these are some of the tools at your disposal for investigating cold cases.

Major cities surrounding Rochester, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Winona, Minnesota
Albert Lea, Minnesota

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