The most devastating thing for the family members of a crime victim is for the perpetrator to escape justice. There are over 200,000 unsolved murder cases in the U.S. that have remained open since the 1950s. There may never be any peace in knowing exactly what happened to their loved ones for these families.

Murder cases aren’t the only type of crimes that remain unsolved. There are thousands of active missing person cases, robberies, and fraud cases that need to be solved. For the armchair detectives in the public realm, there are many ways to help the authorities solve cold cases.

With such limited resources, the police and detectives can only dedicate time to cases that are progressing. When a case like the Heather Bogle Murder comes to a dead end, it is difficult to close the case with no new information. That’s where the public comes in. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways that the public can help solve important cold cases. 


Stay Aware

In 2021, during the Gabby Petito missing persons case, there was such a social media frenzy over the case that it resulted in the recovery of nine other victims that had been lost in the cold case files. Once a case starts to go cold and the leads dry up, it often disappears from the media. One of the best ways to help solve cold cases is to stay aware. Make a list of the photos of missing persons on your phone and pay attention to your surroundings. Having an online reference like a photo can help you to identify a victim long after their face has been on the television or internet.


See Something, Say Something

As our society becomes more isolated and reliant on technology, we tend to keep to ourselves and focus on minding our own business. While this may be a good habit when it comes to the neighbors, it won’t help someone who is in trouble. If you see something that is suspicious, you need to say something. Those crime victims waiting for someone to help them rely on you to report anything that seems unusual. If you see anything that seems like it just isn’t right, you need to report it and possibly save a life with your activism.


Check Case Details

If you suspect that you may have a lead on a cold case, you need to check your facts before making an official report to the authorities. Check your local online resources and make sure that the details of the cold case are in line with what you have discovered. You don’t want to waste your time or the time of investigators unless you are on the right track. 


Review Public Database

For every armchair detective, checking the facts is a crucial part of being able to participate in the solving of a cold case. Regular citizens can review case files on the public platform known as The Murder Accountability Project. This database includes FBI data sets, The Uniform Crime Report dating back to 1965, and the Supplementary Homicide Report from 1976 to the present. 


If you suspect that you may have valuable information about a cold case, it’s important to review your facts and speak up. Follow these tips to help you to participate in solving a cold case.