Experience has shown that cold case programs can solve a substantial number of violent crime cold cases, including homicides and sexual assaults. Advances in DNA technologies have substantially increased the successful DNA analysis of aged, degraded, limited, or otherwise compromised biological evidence. As a result, crime scene samples once thought to be unsuitable for testing may now yield DNA profiles. Additionally, samples that previously generated inconclusive DNA results may now be successfully analyzed. To this end, the National Institute of Justice seeks to assist law enforcement agencies by developing their knowledge base, affording them opportunities to use forensic laboratories for the DNA analysis of cold case evidence, and aiding in the subsequent investigation to solve cold cases.
NIJ assembled and collaborated with the Cold Case Investigation Working Group in developing this guide to assist law enforcement agencies in creating a mechanism for addressing the cold cases in their jurisdictions.