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Eugene Cold Cases

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Eugene, Oregon Cold Cases

Like many other American communities, Eugene, Oregon, has its share of unsolved murder and disappearance cases known as "cold cases." 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 hundred disappearances and homicides in Eugene since 1980 have not been solved. Several of these cases have not been solved despite efforts by law enforcement and families to find answers despite technological and other breakthroughs.

Almost 80 cases involving missing people have been reported since 1980. About 60% of these cases have been closed, leaving 40% 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.

Since 1980, nearly twenty people have been murdered in Eugene, and their murders remain unsolved. 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%.

Despite the numbers, police in Eugene are still doing their best to bring these crimes to justice. 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 Eugene

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 Eugene. Christy Fornoff, a 13-year-old victim of rape and murder in 1995, is one such case. Someone was finally arrested and charged with her murder in 2018 after years of inquiry and DNA testing.

Cold case investigations, like the one into Christy's disappearance, are important, but they also show why law enforcement needs consistent funding and resources. 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.

There have been over a hundred unresolved cases of homicide or disappearance in Eugene, Oregon, dating back to 1980. 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 Eugene Police Department (EPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Eugene Police Department employs a number of methods for reviving cold cases, such as:

Many cold cases haven't been solved because crucial pieces of evidence or witness testimony weren't collected or recorded at the time of the crime. The Eugene Police Department examines all of the material and testimony from witnesses in order to find any undiscovered avenues of investigation.

With modern technology: DNA and ballistics testing are just two examples of the new types of testing and analysis made possible by technological advancements. Forensic specialists assist the Eugene Police Department in investigating crimes and making arrests.

The Eugene Police Department shares information and resources with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oregon State Police. By working together, we can expand our reach and gain access to more specialized tools.

The Eugene Police Department reaches out to the public through many channels in order to receive tips and information. The department's goal in disclosing information regarding old cases is to find new leads and uncover previously unknown details.

The Eugene Police Department has devoted investigators who work exclusively on cold cases. That way, we can keep our attention on these situations and give them the thorough investigations they deserve.

The Eugene Police Department's approach to solving cold cases is multifaceted, involving not just the use of time-tested methods but also cutting-edge technologies, partnerships with other organizations, and extensive community engagement. The agency is investing time and energy into these cases in the name of fairness for the victims and their loved ones.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In the city of Eugene, Oregon, there are a number of tools at your disposal to investigate and maybe solve cold cases:

Cold Case Unit of the Eugene Police Department The Eugene Police Department maintains a specialized cold case section that investigates cold crimes, such as unsolved homicides and missing person cases.

There is a group in Oregon called Crime Stoppers, and they provide prizes for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in any criminal case, including old ones that haven't been solved yet.

Clearinghouse for Missing People, Oregon State Police: They help families and law enforcement organizations look for missing people.

Courses in criminalistics, forensic biology, and crime scene investigation are all a part of the University of Oregon's forensic science department.

Families or law enforcement organizations may hire private investigators to look into cold cases and compile any new evidence that may have been overlooked.

DNA testing New methods for testing one's own DNA have contributed to the solving of many cold cases. Evidence in cold cases may be subjected to DNA testing by law enforcement in conjunction with private labs.

Major cities surrounding Eugene, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon
Corvallis, Oregon
Albany, Oregon
Roseburg, Oregon
Florence, Oregon

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