Law Enforcement Intelligence Report

A Guide To Investigating A Cold Case

Andy Rosensweig NYPD (ret) spent 20 years as the head of the cold case unit of the Manhattan DA's office. He presents the necessary steps to take when investigating a cold case. Actual cases presented. Andy walks you through the investigations to their completion including dead-ends encountered.
Table of Contents
  1. Why aggressively pursuing "cold case" investigations will help reduce rates of crime and violence.
  2. Introduction
    1. A brief history about Mr. Rosenzweig's career and what sparked an interest in cold case investigations, including a reference to two particular cases: Frank Koehler and Robert Bierenbaum.
  3. What makes a case "cold"?
    1. The first seventy-two hours
    2. Clearance rates
    3. Inability to develop credible sources or witnesses
    4. Lack of physical evidence
  4. When does a case merit attention as a "cold case"?
    1. Solvability factors
    2. Family interest and advocacy
    3. Setting priorities
    4. Public alarm or concern
  5. Who investigates a "cold case"?
    1. The original investigator
    2. A newly assigned investigator
    3. A full-time cold case unit
    4. A part-time cold case unit
    5. A prosecutor with assigned investigators
    6. A volunteer individual/unit
    7. Journalists
    8. Law or Criminal Justice students
  6. How do you pursue a "cold case"?
    1. Read the case file
    2. Compile a witness list
    3. Make an inventory of physical evidence
    4. Examine crime scene photos
    5. Visit the crime scene
    6. Interview original officer and detective
    7. Make partnerships (Crime Lab; prosecutor; etc.)
    8. Interview witnesses
    9. Interview victim's family, friends
    10. Do your own canvass
    11. Obtain victim's telephone records; emails; other documents
    12. TIPS, Crime-stoppers, and using the media
  7. DNA
    1. What does DNA mean for investigators; victims; assailants?
    2. How do we educate ourselves on this emerging science?
    3. What it means for police administrators and trainers
    4. The future
  8. Why do we conduct "cold case" investigations?
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