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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Cold Hit Case Management Starts at the Laboratory

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Cold Hit Case Management Starts at the Laboratory

Woman in a lab coat in front of stacks of books
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Cold hit case management begins when the laboratory accepts and analyzes a case that does not have a suspect. The laboratory needs to ensure that every eligible DNA profile is searched in CODIS.

There are two types of cold hits:

  • Case-to-case cold hits – involves at least one unsolved case and may hit to a solved or unsolved case
  • Case-to-offender cold hits – involves an unsolved case and an offender reference sample (e.g., arrestee, suspect, detainee)


In both situations, a laboratory must issue a report or written notice to the agencies involved.

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