• The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the Chicago Cold-Case Squad:
...A "cold case" is defined as an unsolved murder older than a year.
Since about half of all homicides are unsolved -- and there are hundreds of killings a year in Chicago -- there is a mountain of cold cases for detectives to sift through.
So far, the cold-case squad has solved 101 killings, the oldest one involving a man who shot his wife in 1975.
A lot of work
It's not the squad you may have seen on TV's "Cold Case."
On the Hollywood show, it takes hours for detectives to get back laboratory results. In real life, it can take months.
And the actors playing detectives typically find their witnesses on the first knock on the door. In reality, witnesses move a lot. Sometimes they're living out of town. Or they're dead.
In short, cold-case investigations require tedious legwork -- and waiting.
"It takes approximately six months to solve one of these cases, on average"...
Cold-case detectives scour past for fresh leads [Chicago Sun-Times, 16-May-04]
• CBS 48 Hours reports on the Seattle Cold Case Squad's work on two infamous cases in that city:
In Seattle, there are more than 300 unsolved murders. Yet in the last three years, the Cold Case Squad has cracked almost 20 of them, a remarkable record.
But now, the detectives face their greatest challenge yet, as they try to solve two of this city’s most notorious killings -- beginning with the murder of Mia Zapata. It’s a case that’s been cold for more than a decade...
Mia Zapata was a 27-year-old up-and-coming rock star who was savagely raped and strangled and left laying in the middle of a street (in 1993)...
the detectives have another case to solve -- the brutal murder of 13-year-old Kristen Sumstad -- and they are raising troubling questions about the boy who lived next door...
The case involves a 14-year-old boy, John Athan, who Gagnon and Mixsell believe committed the shocking murder.
Athan is now a 36-year-old married business owner with no record of a serious crime. But for the past 22 years, he may have gotten away with murder...
Both the Zapata and Sumstad cold cases get taken to trial with DNA evidence serving as the key to unlocking these mysteries.
Who Murdered The Rock Star? [CBS 48 Hours, 14-May-04]
New Trick By Cops Closes Old Case [CBS News, 30-May-03]
• In Anchorage, Alaska police link a man to a 12 year-old homicide using DNA:
Earl Len Voyles, 37, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault in the 1992 rape and strangulation of Yvette Briggs, 24.
Charging documents filed by prosecutors say Voyles was linked to the decade-old slaying through DNA...
Suspect may have killed 2 [Anchorage Daily News, 15-May-04]
• KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada reports on efforts to solve the 23-year-old murder of Jamey Walker:
18-year-old Jamey Walker was about as close to a model teen as you could get -- cheerleader, honor student, prom queen, and close to her family...
In the early morning hours of May 9 1981, someone entered the Walker home and took Jamey away. Police believe at least two men were involved and that a young woman may have helped them gain access to the house. One of the male kidnappers called Jamey's father to demand a $75,000 ransom. Many hours later, the kidnappers called back to say Jamey would be released. The next day, her battered body was found under a bridge on North Shore Road near Lake Mead...
Cold Case Update: Who Killed Jamey? [KLAS-TV, 16-May-04]
• The Opelousas Daily World of Louisiana reports about a mysterious death case from 1992 being reopened:
LAWTELL - Twelve years ago, Lawtell native Paul Lawrence Duresseaux stormed out of his house in Lake Charles after a disagreement with his wife. He never came back.
Eight months later, children trying to retrieve a lost ball found his skeletal remains on the roof of their school.
Last week, officers with the Lake Charles Cold Case Homicide Division exhumed his body...
Case reopened [Opelousas Daily World, 14-May-04]
• The Manitou Springs Police Department in Colorado is trying to re-energize the investigation into the murder of Detective Sergeant Donald Laabs. He is their only police officer ever killed in the line of duty. KKTV Crime Stoppers reporter Jeannette Hynes has more on this cold case from December 18, 1975.
Cold Case: Detective Sergeant Donald Laabs [KKTV]
• KGO-TV in California reports on the solving of a 18-year-old cold case. Angela Bledsoe, 25, had been brutally murdered sometime after January 8th, 1986:
The break in the case comes from a DNA connection...
Tests led investigators to 39-year-old Richard Dean Wilson. He was already serving a sentence of 26 years to life for the October 1986 stabbing death of 33-year-old Chester Ballard, a caretaker at a San Leandro automobile dealership...
DNA Helps Solve Decades-Old Hayward Murder [KGO-TV, 13-May-04]