Jack Weakley, a cold case analyst with the Tulsa Police Department’s Cold Case Squad, passed along a cold case book review he thought might be of interest to our readers.

“The book contains a detailed description of tools that might be of help to cold case investigators who are not familiar with them,” he said.

Many thanks to Jack for sharing the following book review with us!

Cold Case Research: Resources for Unidentified Missing and Cold Homicide Cases

Review by Jack Weakley

For those of you that have more than a casual interest in cold case investigation, Silvia Pettem’s book, Cold Case Research Resources for Unidentified, Missing, and Cold Homicide Cases provides a detailed look at the investigative tools available to cold case detectives.

As most readers know, interest in cold case homicide has grown exponentially in the past few years because of a number of popular television shows, some of which are supposedly investigative in nature, and others which are more of the dramatic sort that resolve decades-old cases within the framework of the program hour. Unfortunately, real cold cases don’t work that way. However, a recent HBO series, True Detective, came about as close as drama allows to portraying the time, effort and minute detail that detectives put forth when investigating cold cases.

In the real world, cold cases are often neglected by police departments, not intentionally, but because of limited resources, or lack of knowledge about how to go about investigating an old, seemingly unsolvable, case. It’s not due to a lack of interest, but rather that in mid-sized and larger cities homicides have become so common that investigators cannot deal with all of their immediate cases and, at the same time, devote time and energy to older cases that are seemingly “dead end.”

In smaller communities the nature of some homicides are so infrequent that a case may go cold because the department doesn’t have the know how or resources to even begin an investigation. But for those detectives and police departments that wish to develop or improve cold case units—or for others, victim families, students, etc.—Cold Case Research provides an excellent guide as to “how-to” approach and the investigative techniques that are available when dealing with the analysis of cold cases.

The list of resources that could aid in the analysis of cold homicide and missing person cases alone make this book worth purchasing.

Jack Weakley
Volunteer Cold Case Analyst, Tulsa PD

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