This second in a series of fact sheets on sexual-assault investigative procedures discusses next steps in a cold case investigation after being notified of a matching hit from the Combined DNA Identification System (CODIS).
In a concentrated effort to test sexual assault kits (SAKs) linked to cold cases, multiple DNA profiles from a number of kits may produce CODIS hits. The next step is to develop a prioritization scheme for which cases to address first. Once this scheme has been developed, investigators should conduct a comprehensive file review of the original case. The components of such a review are outlined in this report. The next step is to develop a comprehensive portrait of the offender's background. The outline of what this involves distinguishes between the investigation of persons currently incarcerated and those still living in a community. Other investigative steps outlined include determining whether the victim wants to pursue the cold case, and if not, how to proceed with the case. In continuing an investigation, the steps discussed include determining whether the victim's original statement is sufficient for probable cause that a crime was committed, any additional information needed from the victim, a review of the crime scene, a review of the strategy for victim contact and notification, and the development of a victim interview plan. Steps in moving forward in the organization of a case to present to and discuss with a prosecutor are also outlined.
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