Cold Case Unit
The second unit of the Violent Offenders Division is the Cold Case Squad. A cold case is any criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency that has not been solved for (generally) at least one year and, as a result, has been closed from further regular investigations. A cold case may be closed for various reasons such as: previously available technology was not able to adequately analyze the evidence in order to form a conclusion; witnesses were hostile and uncooperative; various time constraints hindered the investigation; a lack of worthwhile leads stalled the case.
In March 2004, the Fulton County District Attorney established a Cold Case Squad through a partnership between the District Attorney’s Office, the Fulton County Sheriff, the Atlanta Police Department, the East Point Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. The purpose of the squad was to examine old homicides to determine if technological advances in DNA analysis would allow for testing of evidence that at one time was considered too degraded, aged or limited in quantity to analyze previously. Within its first year, the Cold Case Squad had successfully identified three homicide suspects in cases that were almost two decades old. These early successes led to a four-year, $714,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s, National Institute of Justice. Since its inception, the Cold Case Squad has successfully closed sixteen cases with an average age of 13 years.