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Case Study of a Cold Case Investigation


A man in the Midwest spent his life listening to stories about his Aunt, his mother’s sister. The mother described how she and her sister were inseparable during their childhood years. In 1973, the aunt (whom we shall call Debbie) became involved with an abusive boyfriend. Soon after, Debbie was found brutally murdered on the side of a river bank. The state police investigated the homicide but lost their momentum in solving the case as it grew colder with time.


Summary:

A man in the Midwest spent his life listening to stories about his Aunt, his mother’s sister. The mother described how she and her sister were inseparable during their childhood years. In 1973, the aunt (whom we shall call Debbie) became involved with an abusive boyfriend. She was only 18 years old at the time, and it was alleged that he forced her into a life of prostitution. Debbie was ashamed of her actions and cut herself off from her family. Soon thereafter, Debbie was found brutally murdered on the side of a river bank. The state police investigated the homicide but lost their momentum in solving the case as it grew colder with time.

The nephew was able to see the sadness in his mother’s eyes whenever she discussed the memories of her sister. His mother never had closure, and never had answers to questions surrounding Debbie’s death. The client believed that the greatest Christmas gift he could give his mother would be to provide her with some answers surrounding her sister’s death.

The nephew spoke with an ICS Case Analyst. During his free consultation he was not able to give any information regarding the murder except that her body was found by a river. The case analyst and an investigator collaborated to see how feasible it would be to produce any significant information. The investigator spent many hours conducting research to determine jurisdiction of the crime, as well as possible locations of evidence and records. We determined that we were able to work with the information provided to us by the client and began a full search into the crime. The client was looking for information that would identify how Debbie was murdered, where her body was found, the autopsy report, and if there were ever any suspects identified. The nephew hoped that with the ICS research, he could approach the police and possibly have the case reopened as an active investigation.

Case Study

The Case Analyst and the client determined that the best place to begin the investigation was with phone calls. A majority of the investigation consisted of dozens of phone calls. This was a cold case for a homicide investigation that was from 1973. In 1973, there was no medical examiner, and autopsies were conducted in the basement of a local hospital. The state and local police were both involved in the processing of the crime scene. The autopsy report concluded that the victim died due to multiple blunt force trauma to the head. The doctor who performed the autopsy was since deceased and unable to comment on his findings. However, the autopsy report did not indicate if Debbie was sexually assaulted. The state and local police processed the crime scene. When both of these departments were in the midst of their investigation, they only had come up with one suspect, who also was deceased. The investigator assigned to the case contacted various officials at all levels of the police department. The case was supposed to be moved to a criminal investigation, but got lost in the dusty files, remaining on the inactive list. The investigator also tried to obtain the list of evidence that was recovered at the crime scene, but the evidence that once existed was unable to be found. It was ironic that there no longer existed any evidence of such a heinous crime. An investigator from ICS was able to pique the interest of a detective in the state police department. This detective was in charge of cold case files, and this case was as cold as you could get. The detective’s interest was mounting due to the fact that there were too many coincidences of disappearing information. The detective started up the trail to reopen this as a murder investigation. Based on the research that was collected, it was assumed that the victim was murdered as a result of her prostitution. It was further discovered that the murder fit more with a crime of passion based on the intimacy of the slaying. There was only one viable suspect that was listed by the police, and he now was deceased.

Conclusion:

There were speculations that organized crime ordered Debbie to be killed because of something she knew, or that she no longer wanted to continue prostituting. The client was provided with up to date information about the progress of the case. He was hoping that with all of our hard work and investigative tools and techniques, ICS would be able to locate another suspect. ICS was able to take a homicide from 1973 with the only evidence being the body’s location, and provide the client with police records, arrest photos, autopsy photos, and statements from various law enforcement agencies that were involved. This client was very limited with what he was able to do financially, and had he been able to extend his budget, ICS could have exhausted more avenues. Nevertheless, the client was able to provide his mother with a great deal of significant information that was not available prior to employing ICS. The state police detective continues to work on the investigation as an open case and a fresh mind. Hopefully, there will be an answer to who killed Debbie in the near future.

What to do next:

If you need additional investigation work done like the cold case mentioned above, please keep in mind that we offer free consultations for all our clients and their cases. No case is too big or too small. We will work for you and get you the same positive results. Call us at Toll Free (800) 828-9198 or online. Our private investigators are on call 24 hours a day ready to help you with your specific investigative case.

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