HOMICIDE INVESTIGATIONS & COLD CASES
Seattle Police Homicide tip-line (206) 233-5000
When a homicide occurs, Homicide and CSI Unit detectives are summoned to the scene. The homicide detective work in tandem with the CSI detectives to thoroughly work the crime scene from all angles. The creation of the CSI Unit, with their state of the art equipment and ability to process the evidence at crime scenes, has allowed homicide detectives to concentrate on interviewing witnesses, victims and potential suspects of these very serious crimes. The teamwork of these two units is paramount to solving many of these cases.
The Homicide Unit has on average an 80% solve rate with several additional cases being solved each year by the cold case unit and relentless follow up by detectives on all open cases.
COLD CASE INVESTIGATIONS
At the Seattle Police Department, cold cases are defined as unsolved homicide cases. Unsolved cases become cold cases when any of the assigned detectives on the case retire, which usually is about 15 to 20 years later. The cold case unit also handles all parole issues that come up on cases that have been cleared but the original case detectives have retired.
Cold cases are prioritized in the order of possible suspects, collected DNA and available witnesses.
The unit began with a total of 300 cold cases, and has since solved over 30 cold case homicides. The Seattle Police Cold Case team was one of the first agencies to begin using the Washington State Crime Lab for testing DNA in cold cases.
Before 2000, many of the cold cases that now result in convictions would have remained unsolved. Recent advances in DNA techology has greatly contributed to the amount of cold cases that can now be solved. With the aid of DNA technology and DNA databases, some of the investigative process the detectives use include cross-checking references against other cases, reviewing cases by talking to family members, following-up on new leads, and talking to witnesses or accomplices who, as they age and their lifestyle changes, are more willing to come forward.