Facebook Pixel

Tacoma Cold Cases

Stay on top of all things cold cases, advocacy, and true crime with our twice per week newsletter

Tacoma, Washington Cold Cases

Many people have been reported missing or slain in Tacoma, Washington, and the cases have gone cold since at least the 1980s. There are more than 60 active cases in Tacoma listed in the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs). 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, mistreated, or lost in some cases, making them even more challenging to investigate.

Tacoma police departments are committed to finding answers and bringing justice to the victims and their loved ones, despite the difficulties they face. 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.

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.

Famous cold cases in Tacoma

While these developments are encouraging, many cold cases in Tacoma and across the country still have not been solved. 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.

Hence, there are still unidentified bodies and unsolved murders from 1980 in Tacoma, Washington. 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 Tacoma Police Department (TPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Unsolved murders, disappearances, and other major crimes are investigated by the Tacoma Police Department's (TPD) cold case section. Detectives with extensive experience who have received specialized training in the investigation of cold cases make up the unit's team.

The TPD's cold case team employs multiple methods in its investigations. One of the key strategies is to examine all pieces of evidence, from physical objects to witness accounts to written records. The team also seeks to track down potential witnesses and develop fresh leads in the investigation.

The TPD'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.

Along with other law enforcement agencies, the TPD's cold case team collaborates extensively with community groups and victim advocacy groups. The unit works with these other entities to exchange data and generate fresh leads in cold cases.

Members of the public can phone the TPD's cold case unit's dedicated hotline to submit tips or information about unsolved cases, which can help develop fresh 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 TPD'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?

For those interested in Tacoma, Washington's cold case resources, there are various options. Here are only a few examples:

The Cold Case Unit of the Tacoma Police Department is responsible for looking into cold cases. In order to solve these cases, they collaborate with federal, state, and local law enforcement to collect information and evidence.

Evidence collected at crime scenes in Washington State is analyzed by forensic scientists at the state's crime lab. To process evidence and aid in the identification of suspects, they employ cutting-edge technology and methods.

In the state of Washington, there is a special team called the Washington State Missing People Unit whose job it is to investigate disappearances. Collecting data and coordinating searches for missing persons is a joint effort between them and local law enforcement.

Tacoma/Pierce County Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit that allows members of the public to anonymously report information concerning criminal activities. Rewards are offered for information leading to an arrest or indictment.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children works with law enforcement to find missing children and safely reunite them with their families.

NamUs is a centralized national database for missing and unidentified persons data. Any member of the public or any member of law enforcement can access the database as well as any medical examiner.

Major cities surrounding Tacoma, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Bellevue, Washington
Kent, Washington
Puyallup, Washington

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Get Your Free Step-By-Step Citizen Detective Guide

Top Tacoma Cold Cases