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Spokane Cold Cases

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Spokane, Washington Cold Cases

Several murders and disappearances in Spokane, Washington have gone cold over the years. Almost 40 people have gone missing or been murdered in Spokane since 1980, as documented by NamUs (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). The families of the victims will never get the answers they need or the justice they deserve as long as these cases remain unsolved.

Time is a major obstacle in the investigation of cold cases. Evidence deteriorates, memories fade, and witnesses may relocate or pass away over time. Physical evidence may be lacking, mishandled, or lost in some cases, making them even more challenging to solve.

Spokane's law enforcement agencies press on with their investigations despite these obstacles, hoping to bring closure to the victims and closure to their families. Cold case investigators or units are specialized sections within some police departments. In their efforts to solve these cases, these detectives work relentlessly to reexamine old evidence, reinterview witnesses, and pursue fresh leads.

Justice is sought not only by law enforcement, but also by the loved ones of those who have gone missing or been murdered. They may hire private detectives, look into the cases themselves, or try to get the word out in order to get more information. Families may even offer rewards for information that helps solve the crime.

Spokane County's "Catch a Criminal" initiative is one such initiative. The goal of this campaign is to bring attention to cold cases and encourage people to come forward with information. Images and details from the cases are shown on billboards in an effort to solicit tips from the general population. In numerous instances, the algorithm was able to successfully generate useful tips and leads.

Famous cold cases in Spokane

In recent years, technology has also played a crucial role in the resolution of cold cases. DNA testing and genealogy studies have allowed for the solution of many cold cases. Genetic evidence found at a crime scene could be retested with updated lab equipment, or new leads could be uncovered through genetic genealogy studies.

Although these developments are encouraging, many cold cases in Spokane and across the country remain unresolved. Families of those who have gone missing or been killed keep looking for answers in the hopes that someday their loved ones may be recognized and justice served.

In conclusion, there are still unidentified missing persons and unsolved murders in Spokane, Washington that date back to the 1980s. Every possible effort is being made to find new clues and information in these instances by law enforcement, families, and loved ones. While technological advancements have been important in solving certain instances, many more continue to go unsolved, depriving victims' families of the closure they need and the justice they deserve.

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 Spokane Police Department (SPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

A special cold case section within the Spokane Police Department (SPD) looks into murders and disappearances that have yet to be solved. Detectives with extensive expertise and specialized training in this area man the team.

The Cold Case Unit at the SPD employs a variety of techniques when looking at cold cases. Re-examination of the case's physical evidence, witness testimony, and other paperwork is a primary technique. The team also seeks to track down potential witnesses and develop fresh leads in the investigation.

The SPD's cold case team employs cutting-edge forensic technologies in addition to more conventional techniques of investigation in order to provide closure to cold cases. The team may conduct forensic testing, such as DNA analysis, to help identify suspects or establish a connection between a piece of physical evidence and a specific person.

Police in neighboring jurisdictions, as well as community groups and victim support groups, are regular collaborators with the SPD's cold case team. The unit works with these other entities to exchange data and generate fresh leads in cold cases.

Members of the public can phone the SPD's cold case unit's dedicated hotline to submit tips or information about unsolved cases, which helps to develop new leads for the department. The team also makes use of digital channels like social media and online forums to raise awareness about cold cases and solicit tips from the public.

When examining cold cases, the SPD's cold case team considers a wide range of factors. The team is able to develop fresh leads and make headway on cases that have been unsolved for years by combining traditional investigative tactics with modern forensic technologies and community involvement strategies.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Spokane, Washington, is home to a number of resources devoted to the investigation of cold cases. To name a few examples of such materials:

The Spokane Police Department's Cold Case Unit analyzes cold cases, such as those involving unidentified human remains, missing persons, and homicides that have never been solved. The team consists of detectives and forensics experts who re-examine evidence and generate fresh leads using cutting-edge forensics equipment.

Around the state, including in Spokane, law enforcement agencies can take advantage of the forensic services provided by the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory. Evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, and ballistics are analyzed at the lab's Forensic Science Center in Cheney.

People in the Inland Northwest have access to Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit that allows them to anonymously report information about crimes (including cold cases). Call in or leave an anonymous tip online and you could be eligible for a $1,000 prize if it leads to an arrest or indictment.

The Doe Network is a non-profit group that provides online tools to help identify unidentified human remains for use by law enforcement and the families of the missing. They have a large database of missing and unidentified persons that can be used to assist solve cold cases.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a non-profit organization that works to find missing children and provides information to families and law enforcement. Moreover, they have a forensic services unit that helps with cold case investigations of missing children and the identification of unidentifiable human remains.

Human rights abuses, such as mass killings and genocide, are among the topics researched by the University of Washington's Center for Human Rights. They may be able to help Spokane law enforcement with their investigation of human rights violations cold cases because of their experience working on several of these cases in Washington state.

Major cities surrounding Spokane, Washington

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Post Falls, Idaho
Cheney, Washington
Hayden, Idaho
Moses Lake, Washington

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Top Spokane Cold Cases