Cold Case Resources

When an Unsolved Homicide Gets Renewed Attention

Over the past several years, advances in forensic science, especially DNA technology, have given law enforcement and prosecutors new tools with which to approach unsolved cases. So-called “Cold Case Units” have emerged in law enforcement agencies throughout the country to review long-term unsolved homicide cases to determine whether new testing could potentially yield new information about a case. Though the reality remains that many cases will never be solved, some older cases will be investigated and prosecuted based on leads developed by cold case units.


Loved ones suffer greatly when a homicide remains unsolved. Having the case reopened can produce an avalanche of emotions. It is common to have questions and there may be decisions loved ones want to make about their rights as crime victims. This web page was developed by the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council to provide a starting point for victims, particularly the family of homicide victims, who need more information about cold case investigations and prosecutions. It is also meant to be a resource for those who work with the loved ones of homicide victims as well as friends and family who want to be supportive, to help them understand what victims might be going through during this time.