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Houston Cold Cases

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Houston, Texas Cold Cases

Since 1980, Houston, Texas has been plagued with unsolved cases of homicide and disappearance. The Houston Police Department reports that there are now more than a thousand cold cases in the city. Those who have vanished without a trace and those whose murders have gone unsolved also fall into this category.

Cold case detectives can be found at the Houston Police Department. Detectives with years of expertise and specialized training in cold case investigations man the Cold Case Unit. The major objective of the team is to investigate all of the collected evidence and come up with fresh leads.

The lack of new evidence is a major obstacle to solving cold cases. In many of these situations, no new information has surfaced in years, if not decades. But, cutting-edge forensic equipment is put to use by the Cold Case Squad in order to reexamine previously collected material and identify any new leads in these cases. The unit has been able to make headway on some of these cases thanks to developments in DNA analysis and other forensic procedures.

In addition to cooperating with the Texas Rangers and the FBI, the department also shares information and resources with other law enforcement organizations. By working together, we can be confident that every available tool is being used to deliver justice for the victims.

The Houston Police Department understands the value of community outreach in solving cold cases. The agency routinely holds events and collaborates with the media to raise awareness about cold cases and solicit leads from locals. There are prizes available from the department if a tip leads to an arrest and conviction in one of these cases.

Famous cold cases in Houston

There is a rising backlog of cases that have not yet been assigned to the Cold Case Squad, which adds to the difficulties of solving cold cases. The Houston Chronicle reports that the city's Cold Case Squad has yet to investigate more than 300 cold cases of homicide. In order to ensure that all cases are being adequately investigated, this backlog highlights the need for extra resources to be assigned to the unit.

There is often no resolution for the victims' families in these cases. The Houston Police Department is dedicated to solving these cases not only for the purpose of justice, but also so that the victims' loved ones can finally rest in peace. Some of these cases have seen advancement, but the department still has a long way to go.

The Houston Police Department has a special unit called the Cold Case Squad that looks into missing and homicide cases that have gone cold. In order to identify suspects and solve cold cases, the team employs cutting-edge forensic technology, collaborates closely with other law enforcement organizations, and forges ties within the community. Although there are many obstacles to resolving cold cases, the agency is dedicated to doing so in order to bring justice to the victims and peace of mind to their loved ones.

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 Houston Police Department (HPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Cold Case Squad of the Houston Police Department (HPD) is responsible for reopening cold cases. Detectives assigned to the Cold Case Squad have received specialized training in the investigation of cold cases.

The HPD Cold Case Team uses a multi-pronged approach to solving cold cases, which includes:

The team conducts a thorough assessment of the case and analyzes all of the information and evidence at their disposal, including forensic evidence, witness statements, and earlier investigation reports.

In order to acquire more information and look for contradictions in their testimonies, detectives will reinterview witnesses and prospective suspects.

In order to see if forensic evidence, such as a DNA sample, matches any current databases or can be re-analyzed with updated techniques, investigators will frequently re-examine it.

Working with the FBI or the Texas Rangers, for example, might provide the Cold Case Squad with access to even more resources and expertise in the criminal justice system.

The Cold Case Squad may use media sources and social media to reach out to the public and ask for any fresh information they may have about the case.

Create fresh leads: Investigators will try to generate new leads by reevaluating existing evidence, interviewing potential witnesses, and following up on tips and leads that may have been missed during the first investigation.

The HPD's strategy for solving cold cases is all-encompassing and methodical, use every tool at its disposal to find fresh leads and finally solve the case.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In Houston, Texas, there are a number of tools at your disposal to investigate and maybe solve cold cases:

The Cold Case Squad of the Houston Police Department is in charge of investigating all cold cases, including murders and disappearances. In order to solve these crimes, the squad employs seasoned detectives who focus solely on them.

Law enforcement organizations in the Houston region can take advantage of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences' forensic and laboratory services. The analysis of physical evidence gathered at crime scenes can be aided by these witnesses.

Information on unsolved homicides and missing individuals in Texas can be found on the Cold Case webpage maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. There is a database of cold cases with information for both families and law enforcement on the site.

The Houston branch of Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit that pays out cash prizes for information leading to an individual's arrest and conviction, operates in the city. Along with law enforcement, they investigate and resolve cases of criminal activity, including those that have lain dormant for years.

The Houston Forensic Science Center is a local facility that offers forensic analysis and laboratory services to the Houston area's law enforcement agencies. In the process of analyzing physical evidence gathered at crime scenes, they can be of great use.

Major cities surrounding Houston, Texas

Dallas, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Austin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
El Paso, Texas

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