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