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Manchester, New Hampshire Cold Cases

Like in many other U.S. cities, cold cases have been an ongoing problem in Manchester, New Hampshire. For years, even decades, families and communities may be left wondering why authorities haven't been able to solve the crime or bring the offender to justice.

Several cases of persons going missing or being murdered have gone unsolved in Manchester since 1980. As of March 2023, 54 cold cases dating back to 1980 have been reported in Manchester through the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs). Thirty of those incidents include missing persons and twenty-four involve homicide.

The number of unsolved crimes in Manchester has risen steadily throughout the years, with a notable uptick in the 2000s. The Union Leader reported that from 2005-2015, the number of unsolved homicides in Manchester rose from 15 to 35. A growing population, an uptick in opioid addiction and drug-related crime, and modifications to police practices were all blamed for this spike.

The clearance rate for homicide cases in Manchester has been persistently lower than the national norm, despite efforts to solve these cases. According to data from the FBI, the clearance rate for homicides in Manchester was 52.4% in 2020, compared to the national average of 61.6%. This means that over half of homicides in Manchester remain unsolved, a troubling number for both law enforcement and the community.

It's possible that the absence of witnesses or physical evidence is making it so difficult to clear cases. Investigators often have few clues to follow, and if no new information or tools become available, a case can fall cold.

The transient nature of the city is another possible contributor to the longevity of cold cases in Manchester. Many individuals visit or leave Manchester each year due to its popularity as a student and tourist destination. This can make it more challenging to locate potential witnesses and reconstruct what transpired.

Famous cold cases in Manchester

Families of those who have died in unsolved cold cases in Manchester sometimes feel helpless and frustrated. Several people have taken to social media and other online forums in an effort to get the word out about their loved ones' disappearances and hopefully find some answers. The New Hampshire Cold Case Unit and the New Hampshire League of Investigators are just two of the groups in Manchester that work to aid missing individuals' families.

Manchester police have taken action to investigate and close cold cases. Unsolved crimes in Manchester are investigated by the Cold Case Unit of the Manchester Police Department. In order to evaluate old evidence and find fresh leads, the unit collaborates closely with other law enforcement organizations and makes use of cutting-edge forensic technology.

Manchester's cold case solving efforts have produced some significant results in recent years. Man accused of killing woman whose dumpster body was discovered in Manchester in 1981 was apprehended in 2021. The breakthrough occurred when the suspect's DNA was linked to that of a family member in a national DNA database. DNA technology's capacity to shed light on crimes decades after they were committed was on full display in this case.

The investigation of cold cases continues to be difficult for police in Manchester and elsewhere. There is, however, reason to believe that more crimes can and will be solved with the help of the community, the application of cutting-edge technology, and the commitment of law enforcement officials.

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 Manchester Police Department (MPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Unsolved and "cold" cases are investigated by the Manchester Police Department's Cold Case Unit. The department has a multi-pronged approach to solving cold cases:

In order to determine whether any fresh leads or evidence were missed during the initial investigation, the Cold Case Unit goes through all of the case files, evidence, and witness statements.

The team reinterviews potential witnesses, relatives, and others with knowledge of the case to discover whether their memories have altered or if they have any new information.

In order to reexamine evidence and find fresh leads, the team employs cutting-edge forensic technology and DNA analysis.

The Cold Case Unit collaborates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to share information and resources.

The unit uses several platforms to reach out to the public in the hopes that someone may recognize the case and come forward with information.

The Manchester Police Department has both a Cold Case Section and a Missing People Unit to look into such situations. Like the Cold Case Unit, the Missing People Unit looks through historical evidence and interviews old and new witnesses to find new leads in cold cases.

The Manchester Police Department employs cutting-edge forensic technology, works with other organizations and the public, and reaches out to the public in an effort to develop new leads in cold case investigations. To guarantee that its personnel are equipped to conduct cold case investigations, the agency also provides training in this area. The Manchester Police Department as a whole is dedicated to solving cold cases and delivering justice and peace of mind to victims and their loved ones.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, there are a number of services available to those interested in investigating cold cases. To name a few examples of such materials:

The Manchester Police Department has a special team devoted to investigating cold cases that have gone cold. Expert investigators work together to reexamine previously unsolved crimes and apply cutting-edge forensic tools.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has a Cold Case Unit dedicated to reopening cold cases across the state, including murders, disappearances, and cases involving unexplained remains. Cold case investigations are conducted in conjunction with local law enforcement to help bring closure to victims' families.

NamUs, the National Missing and Unidentified People System, is a database that gives resources to local law enforcement to aid in the identification of missing persons and remains. The public has access to the database and can report information about unidentifiable remains or conduct their own search for missing persons.

Homicide and other significant crimes in New Hampshire are investigated by the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit. In order to examine cold cases and bring closure to victims and their families, the team collaborates with local law enforcement.

Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit that facilitates the anonymous submission of tips to law enforcement. Tips can be made online, over the phone, or by text message, and the sender may be eligible for a reward if their information leads to an arrest or conviction.

Some of the tools at cold case investigators' disposal in Manchester, New Hampshire, including the following.

Major cities surrounding Manchester, New Hampshire

Nashua, New Hampshire
Concord, New Hampshire
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lowell, Massachusetts
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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