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Oklahoma City Cold Cases

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Cold Cases

Like many other American communities, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has its share of unsolved murder and disappearance cases that have gone cold. Families who have been waiting for answers in these situations for years, maybe decades, often feel like they will never get them. While every case is different, the statistics surrounding these types of crimes can be rather disturbing and provide light on the difficulties law enforcement agencies have when attempting to solve them.

More than a thousand cases of murder or disappearance in Oklahoma City since 1980 have not been resolved. Several of these cases have not been solved despite efforts by law enforcement and families to find answers despite technological and other breakthroughs.

Almost 900 cases involving missing people have been documented since 1980. About 70% of these cases have been closed, leaving 30% unresolved. Lack of evidence, missing people who vanished on their own own, and incidents in which the victim is presumed to have been taken out of state or country are just a few of the many possible explanations for why these crimes remain unsolved.

Almost 100 murders have gone unsolved in Oklahoma City since 1980, on top of the many missing people investigations. Many suspects and a lack of evidence or eyewitnesses can make these situations exceptionally challenging for law enforcement. When compared to the clearance rate for missing person cases, the clearance rate for homicides is significantly lower, hovering around 50%.

Notwithstanding these numbers, law enforcement in Oklahoma City is committed to bringing these cases to a successful conclusion. DNA evidence has played a major part in several recent cold case arrests thanks to developments in technology and forensic science. Social media and other online tools have also facilitated the widespread distribution of news and calls for assistance that were before impossible.

The lack of resources is a problem for law enforcement when looking into cold cases. Due to resource constraints, it may be impossible to conduct in-depth inquiries into each situation. When new information becomes available years after a case has been closed for lack of leads or evidence, it is often decided to reopen the investigation.

Famous cold cases in Oklahoma City

The emotional toll these cases may take on loved ones and law enforcement is another obstacle. Many relatives of victims of disappearance or murder have waited for years for answers, and each day that passes just deepens their anguish. Each unsolved case represents a failure to provide justice to victims and their families, creating enormous pressure for law enforcement to find answers.

In spite of these obstacles, cold cases have been solved with success in Oklahoma City. In 1981, a 15-year-old girl named Jewel Dunn was discovered dead in a field. By 2020, a suspect had been identified and charged with her murder after years of inquiry and DNA analysis.

Not only do unsolved cases like Jewel's demonstrate the necessity of providing law enforcement with ongoing support and resources, but they also serve as a reminder of the importance of solving cold cases. If law enforcement is given greater resources and time, they will be more likely to solve these crimes and bring closure to the affected families.

Around a thousand people have gone missing or been murdered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma since 1980, and very few leads have been found. Law enforcement has numerous obstacles while attempting to solve these cases, but recent developments in technology and forensic science, as well as the increased availability of information thanks to the Internet, have opened up new avenues of inquiry. The pursuit of justice for victims and their families can continue if law enforcement is given the means to do it.

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 Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Unsolved homicides in Oklahoma City are investigated by the OCPD's Cold Case Unit. Full-time, seasoned investigators work on cold cases, conducting extensive research, re-interviewing witnesses, and following up on new leads.

DNA analysis, forensic evidence analysis, and cutting-edge technology like facial recognition are just some of the methods employed by the OCPD Cold Case Unit when looking into cold cases. The detectives in the squad frequently consult with other departments and forensics specialists for help.

The OCPD Cold Case Unit frequently re-interviews previous interviewees, including suspects and witnesses. Witnesses who were too terrified to talk to police at the time of the crime may feel more comfortable speaking with authorities several years afterwards. The unit's detectives are also accessible to and communicative with victims' loved ones, keeping them apprised of developments in the investigation and urging them to come forward with any relevant information.

The OCPD also makes use of various media outlets in order to raise awareness of cold cases and hopefully attract fresh witnesses or information. Information on cold cases is regularly disseminated through their website, social media, and local news outlets.

The OCPD has a Murder Unit that looks into all recent murders in addition to the Cold Case Unit. Both the Murder Unit and the Cold Case Unit collaborate closely with one another to solve both fresh and ancient murders.

The OCPD wants anyone who knows anything, no matter how small, about a cold case to come forward. The Cold Case Unit's detectives will stop at nothing to find the truth and bring closure to the victims' loved ones.

The mission of the OCPD Cold Case Unit is to solve cold cases and provide closure to victims' loved ones. The OCPD Cold Case Unit is making headway in solving some of Oklahoma City's most difficult cases via the use of cutting-edge technology, collaboration with other agencies and specialists, and a dedication to following all leads.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to a number of resources devoted to the investigation of cold cases.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) works with local authorities to investigate crimes, even cold cases. They have a Cold Case Section that helps other police departments in the state with their investigations of cold cases such unsolved murders, missing individuals, and unidentified bodies.

The OSBI also keeps two searchable online databases that document missing persons and unidentified remains cases in Oklahoma: the Oklahoma State Missing Persons Database and the Oklahoma State Unidentified Persons Database. Investigators looking into cold cases may find these databases to be an invaluable resource.

Unsolved homicides, missing persons, and sexual assault cases are investigated by the Oklahoma City Police Department's Cold Case Unit, manned by seasoned investigators. The team looks into cold cases and applies modern forensic tools and methods to them in an effort to find answers. In addition, they collaborate with victims' loved ones to keep them updated on the status of their cases.

The police force also makes use of the public's assistance through its Crime Stoppers program. Those who provide information that results in an arrest and conviction are eligible for incentives under this scheme. A hotline, a website, and a mobile app are all available ways for tipsters to offer information anonymously.

Finally, various non-profits in Oklahoma City and throughout the state work to solve cold cases. As an example, consider the Oklahoma Cold Case Project. In order to investigate and bring attention to cold cases, they collaborate with law enforcement and the relatives of victims. They also aid grieving families by providing information and emotional support.

In sum, Oklahoma City's law enforcement has access to a wealth of tools that can aid them in solving cold cases, and collaboration across government entities, non-profits, and the general public is essential to finally solving these cases.

Major cities surrounding Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma
Edmond, Oklahoma
Moore, Oklahoma
Midwest City, Oklahoma
Yukon, Oklahoma

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Top Oklahoma City Cold Cases