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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Investigative Techniques for Cold Hit Cases

Cold hit cases may require alternative investigative techniques or approaches. For example, in non-cold hit cases, suspects usually are confronted with the physical evidence against them. Once informed that DNA evidence confirms the suspect's presence at the crime scene, a suspect may reshape his defense. For example, a suspect who initially asserted no knowledge or contact with a sexual assault victim may, when confronted with DNA evidence, change his statement to claim that the sexual contact was consensual. In a cold hit case investigation, it is sometimes strategically preferable not to immediately discuss any DNA evidence with the suspect.

As an investigative strategy, law enforcement should consider doing a two-step interview of the suspect, documenting the suspect's statements both before and after discussing the DNA evidence. Prison wardens and superintendents should be contacted by phone or letter and requested not to alert an inmate suspect about the police visit or subject matter

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