Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Searchers: Amateur Web Sleuths Are Teaming Up to Solve Cold Cases Online

(Photo: imagineerinx/Shutterstock)

(Photo: imagineerinx/Shutterstock)

In the fall of 1987, a high school senior named Todd Matthews became obsessed with his first mystery corpse. The dead woman had been found in 1968, in Georgetown, Kentucky, wrapped in a tarp. People called her Tent Girl. Matthews felt a force urging him to piece together Tent Girl’s identity, and for years he scrutinized every detail the police and journalists might have missed. He dreamed about Tent Girl appearing in his living room. He consulted a psychic. He spent so much time and money looking for Tent Girl that his wife threatened to leave him. Then, one night in 1998, up past midnight on his Compaq Presario, he found a matching missing-persons report. When a DNA test identified Tent Girl as Barbara Taylor, Matthews was in the courthouse conference room. “It was such an emotional moment for us

Read more at:

Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office to devote more resources to two cold cases

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) — Two cold cases in Jackson County are back in the forefront and now the sheriff’s department is hoping a university in Texas and a national database will bring closure and justice.

In a press conference Monday Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera announced a renewed effort by detectives to solve two of the county’s oldest cold cases.

Sheriff Waldera says in both cases the victims were dismembered and their remains were never identified.

“They discovered a plastic garbage bag with the remains of a human head,” Waldera explained.

The first case is from August 1978 where a human skull from a man was found by a logging crew in the township of Knapp in Jackson County.

The second is a case from October 1990, where the dismembered body of a 24-year old woman was found in two shallow graves in Brockway Township.

“The first step in

Read more at:

Crowdsourcing Criminal Investigations In The Digital Age

Do-it-yourself detectives. A new army of freelance amateurs is using the Internet to solve cold cases–long-unsolved homicides—across the country.

On TV, cold cases get solved with a magical high tech ease. Here’s the body. Here are the teeth. Here’s the DNA swab. Done. In real life, lots and lots of deaths, murders, bodies just remain mysterious. Unidentified. Unsolved. Frozen. Buried. Forgotten. Police and detectives eventually have other things to do. But some people don’t. They’re obsessed. They’re online. And they’re endlessly playing with the puzzle pieces. Sleuthing after hours. Connecting the dots of unsolved deaths and crimes. This hour On Point: Cold cases, crowd-sourced and cracked, by freelancers online. — Tom Ashbrook