Many people have been reported missing or slain in Charleston, West Virginia, and the earliest of these incidents dates back to the 1980s. There are more than 20 active cases in Charleston 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.
Despite setbacks, Charleston's police force is committed to bringing those responsible to justice and providing closure to the victims' loved ones. 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.
Several cold cases in Charleston and across the country have not been solved despite these developments. 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.