Columbia, South Carolina is a dynamic and historically significant city, but it is not immune to the problem of unsolved cases of murder and disappearance. In such circumstances, finding closure can take years, sometimes decades. While every cold case is different, the numbers surrounding them in Columbia can provide light on the difficulties law enforcement agencies confront while trying to solve them.
Many disappearances and murders in Columbia since 1980 have not been resolved. Over 200 cases involving missing people have been reported. 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.
Since 1980, Columbia has experienced a high number of missing persons and homicides that have gone 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 20%.
Despite these numbers, law enforcement officials in Columbia are nonetheless committed to finding answers in these situations. 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.