A case for murder


Source: Cold Case Homicides: Practical Investigative Techniques by Richard H. Walton. Walton is a seasoned law enforcement veteran who found himself on a 13-year quest in which he reactivated perhaps America’s oldest active homicide investigation involving a series of murders and alleged rapes set amidst official corruption in the heart of the Prohibition era in 1925.


It’s not uncommon for missing person cases to turn into homicides. The problem is that cases like Roger Ellison’s may languish in a state of limbo until a body is found. Cold case investigations can be stalled for years due to the inability to recover the body which can give investigators valuable clues into how the victim died. 

It’s long been regarded in homicide investigations that time is of the essence. If a murder wasn’t solved within the first 24 to 72 hours, the chances of solving the case greatly diminished. Today, modern cold case investigators are using the passage of time to their advantage.

Here’s how:

·         Relationships change over time. The friendship that once existed between the perpetrator and those with knowledge of the crime may have ended or become adversarial.


·         Religion may have entered the life of someone with information or knowledge of the crime causing them to come forward with what they know.


·         People also mature. Witnesses may have moved away from the influence of the perpetrator and lifestyle that existed at the time of the murder. They may have married, raised a family and become a better person.


·         Witnesses no longer fear the perpetrator. This may be due to time having made the witness a stronger person or the perpetrator a weaker person.

Often times, people want to tell what they know but can’t bring themselves to pick up the phone and call the police. Do you have direct knowledge of Roger Ellison’s disappearance and were never questioned by the police? Click on the Contact link and send me an email. Your tip could be the crucial piece of information that finally cracks the case. For more details, check out “Inside A Reporter’s Notebook” and read the Cold Case Timeline.


Coming up: Advances in technology


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