With forensic technology advancing at a rapid case, cold cases can often be solved once fresh eyes and new techniques are used. Unfortunately, many police agencies lack the manpower to focus on these cold cases. For instance, local detectives in Vermont typically handled cold cases only when their workload of active cases was light enough to allow them some spare time.
This situation is changing. The Vermont State police just formed an elite team of detectives who will spend much of their time trying to solve cold cases. This new major crimes unit consists of a lieutenant and five experienced investigators located in strategic areas across Vermont.
Their primary job will be to investigate the most serious recent crimes such as homicides, suspicious deaths, and shootings that involve officers. Their secondary focus will be to bring cold cases back to life.
The detectives are currently sorting through old cases to figure out which ones to focus on first. This involves compiling accurate lists of Vermont’s unsolved murder and missing person cases. They have found records of more than 50 unsolved homicides and more than 30 missing person cases.
Many of these cold cases are decades old and will involve a tremendous amount of time investigating each document and piece of evidence. Preserving the evidence for future use will not be trivial. Much of it is on cassette tapes or 3-ring binders, and this evidence needs to be converted to digital formats to preserve it for future analysis.
When new high-profile cases arrive, the major crime unit will work closely with other crime fighters such as local detectives, computer crimes unit, the CSI unit, the forensic lab, and the intelligence center.
This new squad already had one breakthrough. A week before its initial launch, a Bellows Falls man was stabbed to death in Winchester. The unit was able to identify the perpetrator who is now facing manslaughter charges.