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Applying Modern Investigation Methods to Solve Cold Cases

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2022

This National Institute of Justice “Notes from the Field” article discusses modern investigation methods that can help solve cold cases.


In this article from the National Institute of Justice’s “Notes from the Field” series, Detective Lt. Jason Moran of the Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Office Special Victims/Forensic Services Unit speaks about how modern investigation methods can help solve cold cases. He discusses how the Cook County Sheriff’s Office reopened the John Wayne Gacy case in 2011 after learning that eight of Gacy’s 33 victims were never identified. In addition to identifying three of the eight unidentified Gacy victims, investigators believe they are close to identifying others. Moran said as a result of re-opening the Gacy case, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has been able to close 11 other cold cases involving missing persons that fit the profile of a Gacy victim. He credits his office’s success in clearing these cold cases has been directly tied to leveraging contemporary investigative methods in the analysis of decades-old evidence.

Date Published: March 1, 2022