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Cold Case Unit

The Kansas City Police Department, its Crime Laboratory and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office have partnered together in the investigation and prosecution of cold cases. The police department and the prosecutor's office conduct a "dual" review of each case that has been determined to have biological evidence amenable to DNA testing. Since 2000, DNA technology has been used on crimes that were not yet solved or of a recent criminal investigation. To date, there have been over 100 dispositions of cold sex crimes cases in Jackson County, Missouri.

The overall cold case conviction rate stands at 96%.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Kansas City Police Department, and its Crime Laboratory work to identify unsolved cases with potential to be solved through DNA technology. These cold cases include homicides, sex crimes, and assaults. All cases that meet these criteria have been entered into the Kansas City Police Crime Lab for further investigation. To date, there are 2,545 cases in the crime lab’s inventory with potential evidence amenable to DNA testing to be reviewed.

The good news is that in cold cases, contrary to the typical case, time is often on the side of investigators. The review and investigation of cold cases presents unique partnership opportunities between police, lab personnel, and prosecutors. Under this cooperative model, prosecutors provisionally decide which cases they will ultimately file before DNA testing ever takes place, while simultaneously directing and shaping the issues they will litigate at trial. At the same time, investigators and lab personnel can most efficiently and effectively focus their limited resources, while gaining greater insight into the issues that will ultimately be tried in the courtroom. Accordingly, cold cases can be investigated in a more trial-focused and strategically thoughtful manner.

The investigation and prosecution of cold cases crimes have been made possible through a series of grants, including a recently received grant in September 2012. The National Institute of Justice awarded the prosecutor’s office an eighteen-month grant of $415,829.

“We are extremely pleased and honored to receive a third consecutive Solving Cold Cases with DNA grant from the Department of Justice,” said Ted Hunt, chief trial attorney over the prosecutor office’s Sex Crimes Unit. “This award is a testament to the enormous success of our previous two grants (2008 and 2010) and the fact that Jackson County is nationally recognized as one of the premier jurisdictions in the nation for solving and prosecuting cold case crimes.”

   
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