Newport News, Virginia is a city that takes great pleasure in its welcoming and secure environment. Yet, it has had its share of crime, including cases of missing or murdered people, just like any other city. The Newport News Police Department has, over the years, looked into a large number of instances involving missing or killed persons. While some of these cases have been closed, many others continue to be unsolved.
There were 245 incidents of missing persons reported in Newport News between 1980 and 2020, as recorded by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Only 15 instances were still unsolved, while 230 persons were found. Moreover, during this same period, 392 homicides were registered in Newport News. There were 220 closed cases and 172 open ones as of the year 2020.
These figures suggest that there are still a significant number of unsolved cold cases in Newport News. In each instance, we honor a person who was dearly loved and will be sorely lost. The effects on households and the neighborhood are far-reaching.
The Cold Case Unit of the Newport News Police Department is responsible for looking into cold cases. Detectives with years of expertise staff the team, and they work relentlessly to offer closure to victims' loved ones. Unsolved cases involving homicide, missing persons, or unexplained remains that have lasted at least a year are the primary focus of the unit's efforts.
The Cold Case Unit re-interviews witnesses, analyzes fingerprints and ballistics evidence, and analyzes DNA to solve these cases. The detectives in the team are frequently called upon to re-examine evidence and re-interview witnesses after the original inquiry has shown inconclusive results. They also employ public outreach strategies like social media to find new leads and tips from the general public.
Some long-cold cases have been solved in Newport News in recent years. The suspect in a homicide case from 1985 who had been living in California was apprehended in 2018. The 2020 arrest of a suspect who had been living in North Carolina allowed the unit to close a homicide case from 1996.