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Salt Lake City Cold Cases

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Salt Lake City, Utah Cold Cases

Crime, such as disappearances and homicides, is not unknown in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many homicide and disappearance cases have been examined by the Salt Lake City Police Department. Nonetheless, many of these instances are still unsolved.

The Utah Department of Criminal Identification reports that there were 643 cases of missing persons in Salt Lake City between 1980 and 2020. A total of 483 persons were located, while 160 investigations were still ongoing. Over this same time period, 182 homicides were reported in Salt Lake City. As of the year 2020, 123 of these cases had been resolved, while 59 were still active.

Remember that these data represent cases over a period of 40 years, which may make them look lower. The Salt Lake City Police Department has made great strides over the years in their investigation of these types of crimes. Many cases that were previously considered cold have been solved thanks to technological and methodological advancements in the field of criminology.

The 2002 disappearance of Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City was one of the city's most publicized cases. Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth from her bedroom at knifepoint. Elizabeth's captivity lasted for nine months, but she was eventually rescued and reunited with her loved ones. The two suspects, Mitchell and Barzee, were apprehended and found guilty.

Rosie Tapia's murder in 1995 is another high-profile example. Rosie, a young girl of six, was abducted in the wee hours of the night from her bedroom. The following morning, her body was discovered in a nearby canal. Despite many suggestions and leads over the years, the case has not been solved.

Cold Case Unit investigators work exclusively on cold cases for the Salt Lake City Police Department. The unit is manned by seasoned detectives who dedicate themselves fully to bringing closure to victims' loved ones. Cases involving murder, disappearance, or identification of remains that have not been resolved after at least a year are prioritized by this team.

DNA analysis, fingerprint and ballistics testing, and re-interviews with witnesses are only some of the methods used by the Cold Case Unit to uncover the truth in these situations. The detectives in the team are frequently tasked with reopening cases in order to reexamine evidence and re-examine witness testimony that were initially disregarded. They also employ public outreach strategies like social media to find new leads and tips from the general public.

Famous cold cases in Salt Lake City

Some long-cold cases have been solved in Salt Lake City in recent years. The suspect in a homicide case from 1982 was apprehended in 2019 by the Cold Case Unit; he had been residing in Arizona under an assumed name. The squad tracked down and arrested the murder suspect in Salt Lake City, who had been on the run since 1985.

Though many unsolved cases remain in Salt Lake City, the Cold Case Unit's recent successes give reason for optimism. There is always the chance that fresh evidence will be discovered in an old case thanks to technological and investigative developments.

The numbers of persons who have gone missing or been murdered in Salt Lake City since 1980 are chilling. But, thanks to the efforts of the Salt Lake City Police Department's Cold Case Unit, the families of the victims have reason to believe that justice will be done in the end. It is clear that the unit is determined to bring closure to the community by solving these cases.

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 Salt Lake City Police Department (SLPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

There is a particular section of the Salt Lake City Police Department that looks into cold cases. Detectives with extensive expertise and specialized training in this area staff the team. The major objective of the team is to investigate all of the collected evidence and come up with fresh leads.

The department's strategy often involves a thorough review of all the evidence gathered at the scene of the incident. Examining physical evidence like DNA and fingerprints is a part of this process. The agency can now reexamine previous evidence, which may lead to fresh leads in certain cases, thanks to advancements in forensic technology.

Together with the Utah Bureau of Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the department collaborates closely with other law enforcement agencies to share information and resources in order to solve cold cases. By working together, we can be confident that every available tool is being used to deliver justice for the victims.

In order to crack cold cases, the Salt Lake City Police Department understands the need of community partnerships. 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.

The department also makes use of the material gathered at the scene of the incident, including testimonies from witnesses and anything else that might have been missed. The department plans to reexamine all of the evidence in an effort to find fresh leads and finally close long-standing cold cases.

The division also provides support to the victims' loved ones. The agency understands the necessity of delivering as much information as possible to the families who are often left without answers or closure. The department's goal in engaging the families is to generate fresh leads and finally close long-cold cases.

The Salt Lake City Police Department uses these methods and technologies to investigate and solve cold cases. In order to evaluate data and find possible criminals, the agency uses cutting-edge computer programs. The department's toughest cold cases have been cracked in part thanks to this technology.

The Salt Lake City Police Department has a special unit called the Cold Case Unit 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.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In the city of Salt Lake, Utah, there are a number of resources available to investigate and potentially solve cold cases. Among these are:

The Utah Cold Case Coalition is a non-profit group that works with Utah law enforcement to solve cold cases. Advocacy, study, and promotion are just some of the ways they help.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification at the Utah Department of Public Safety collects and stores information about unsolved crimes in Utah. The bureau provides aid to local authorities conducting these types of investigations.

It is the policy of the Salt Lake City Police Department to investigate all homicides and disappearances that remain unsolved by forming a special unit called the Cold Case Unit. In order to solve these cases, the squad's seasoned investigators collaborate closely with various groups in law enforcement.

When a kid goes missing, law enforcement authorities and their families can turn to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for help. They're also helpful in reopening cold cases concerning missing kids.

The National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs) is a centralized database that aids in the search for and positive identification of missing persons and unidentified human remains on a nationwide scale. Members of the law enforcement community and the relatives of missing persons can submit data to the database, which can then be searched by other groups.

The public can anonymously report criminal activity to Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization. They have reward programs in place to encourage people to come forward with information that helps solve crimes, especially cold cases.

A number of private investigator firms in Salt Lake City focus on solving cold cases. These groups can help law enforcement and victims' families by providing specialized services and resources.

Major cities surrounding Salt Lake City, Utah

West Valley City, Utah
Provo, Utah
West Jordan, Utah
Orem, Utah
Sandy, Utah

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