Serving Survivors of Homicide Victims During Cold Case Investigations
Diane Alexander, Dan Levey, Tim Woods  -  2010/8/18
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
with the number of crime-related tv shows, we find that people often have unrealistic expecations of the justice system and technology. do you have any suggestions for helping survivors develop appropriate expectations throughout the duration of an investigation?
 
1.  Mike Durham
 I'm not sure that the police understand how the criminal justice system works on cold cases. Once you work past the mystique you find that no two police agencies work the same, no common procedures exist, and the training for investigators is not standardized.
 
2.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Its important to start by providing survivors with a realistic overview of how the criminal justice system operates, including how investigations are conducted. If you are familiar with how the laboratory processes DNA evidence, share that knowledge with survivors. If you arent familiar with the process, develop the knowledge or find someone who can explain how DNA is processed. Survivors need to know that DNA and other evidence is not collected and analyzed within the time frame of a TV show. Explain that it can take weeks just to extract DNA. Once DNA is extracted, it can lead to more testing. If the lab has a backlog, tell the survivors that it may be some time before the evidence will be processed. Always be truthful with survivors about the evidence that has been collected, including if there is no evidence to test.
 
 
My son, Cedric, was murdered 12/18/01. There were no witnesses, no DNA and to date, no one has come forward with any information. My son was killed exactly a week before Christmas and there were plenty of people out and about. I truly believe that someone saw something, and they don't know that the information is still needed. I also think there is a possiblity that someone had a "change in heart" and wants to relieve their conscience. How can I get my son's case more attention? Where can his information be posted to solicit the most responses? Sincerely, Jocella Collins /Cedric's Mama
 
1.  Dan Levey
 I would suggest trying to keep his story in the public eye by contacting a reporter who might be willing to tell Cedric's story and talk about who he was and what happened (let the police know your going to reach out to the media), working with law enforcement to reach out for things like crime stoppers or some type of reenactment. You can also create a face book page, and/or consider raising reward money in conjunction w/ law enforcement
 
2.  Sarah Chaikin
 Ms. Collins I am sorry about your loss. The hardest cases for survivors are those with no witnesses, evidence or leads. I do believe that time may help in some of these cases. You are right. Someone may have a change of heart and choose to come forward. Relationships change. Someone out there does know exactly what happened, and as time goes on, that person may become more confident and begin talking. Cases ARE solved years later when someone chooses to come forward with that critical information. It must be difficult to hear 'please be patient'...
 
 
My son was murdered in N. Miami Florida in 2008. I live in Michigan. The Detectives will not return my calls or share information with my PI. What can I do to get the Detectives to be responsive to me, the PI and investigate my son's murder?
 
1.  Mike Durham
 Under Arizona statute, a representative may be appointed by the victim/victim family to maintain contact, release information and communicate back to the out of state family members. In cases where the investigators have decided for whatever reason to stonewall family members then additional support from a local representative is a good thing. Some family members breathe a sigh of relief when their local representative encounters the same communication issues.
 
2.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Try contacting the supervisor first. If you still encounter problems, try working up the chain of command. If you arent able to get any movement from the department, consider going to the prosecutor, city council or governing body and asking them to intervene on your behalf. You could also consider contacting the media about your loved ones murder and the lack of movement in the investigation. At a minimum, the detective should be able to explain why heshe is not sharing information with you or the PI.
 
 
Why can't the family of murdered persons have access to the homicide report, autopsy records, and crime scene information if the case is no longer being investigated but not specifically labeled a cold case? I would like my PI to have access to these records.
 
1.  Mike Durham
 Arizona defined the term cold case in statute. That helps, especially when there is no new or viable evidence after one year.
 
2.  MM
 Unfortunately, it's important to note that family members are often the lead suspects.
 
3.  Diane Dan & Tim
 In many departments a case may still be considered open even if it is not currently being investigated andor no charges have been filed. To provide information regarding the specifics of the crime could jeopardize the integrity of the case if it is ever filed. However, in many communitiesstates, these types of reports are typically a matter of public record and should be available to you and your PI. Check your statutes to see how to proceed. In some cases, some information (such as the victims name, address or other identifying information) may be redacted. Officials may also redact some information that would be critical to filing a case and getting a conviction when a suspect is identified and arrested. If you are able to obtain copies of the autopsy report, it might be helpful to have someone go over the report with you who can walk you through the report in a supportive, compassionate way.
 
 
where do i go with things that can prove who killed my son the county officers has told me to back off &forget i had a son they will not even consider solving his murder i need to go out of state any one who has tried to help me has been back away from me thank you
 
1.  brenda hart
 the electiced officials are backing me away now some of the crime scene pictures are missing and also x-rays of the bullets as to how they enter his head they know who killed him i need out of state no one will touch this case here in illinois
 
2.  Mike Durham
 You are not alone. The strategy of making the victim relative go away provokes more acrimony that it has ever solved. Thank you for bringing the issue up. This issue illustrates why third party and arm's length reviews are a necessary tool when law enforcement reps get frustrated with case progress.
 
3.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Without knowing more of the details of your situation, all we can suggest is that if you are having problems getting the case investigated you can consider reaching out to individuals outside of the department. You could approach your local elected officials or media about your situation. Sometimes inquiries from outside individuals can get movement in a case.
 
 
I would like to know if there is a comprehensive guide available for advocates that includes the different roles (attorney, detective, and advocate) involved in a cold case, DNA and the importance of unlocking the mystery behind it, trauma and grief, and victim rights?
 
1.  Len Trimmer
 Unfortunately even designation of a case as a Cold Case lends itself to confusion. Another term to be discussed when there may be no other discussion with the family...
 
2.  JBraun
 We are currently working on this type of resource for victim advocates in Wisconsin. Do you know of any funding sources available for this type of project?
 
3.  Diane Dan & Tim
 As far as we know, there is not currently a guide available that addresses all the issues youve listed. The model protocol we are developing as a part of our grant from OVC will address some of these issues. For additional information about DNA, you might want to visit the DNA Resource Center at www.ncvc.org. The DNA Resource Center is another OVC-funded project.
 
 
I am working in a region where there is a lot of gang activity and I have a number of clients who, due to investigative hold back, have not been provided with the exact cause of death of their loved one. Do you have any strategies to help them with the grieving process when a big piece of information in missing? **On a side note, I will flag my files to call the client on/around important dates (ie: birthdays, anniversary of death) to check in with them.
 
1.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Check your statutes to determine if autopsy reports are a matter of public record. If for some reason they arent available to the public, consider talking with the Coroners Office andor investigators and explain the importance of survivors having as much information as possible to grieve the death of their loved one. You may be able to come to an understanding about the level of detail provided to survivors. You could also refer survivors to a local Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. support group where they may be able to find support through talking with other survivors who find themselves in similar situations.
 
 
could you specifically address the unique aspects of victim support required when a case gains cold case status in the aftermath of an exoneration accomplished through an Innocence Project.
 
1.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Hopefully, investigators will reopen the case. If a decision is made to not actively pursue the case, then the investigator needs to be honest with the survivor about how that decision was made. Explain that while the case is not actively being pursued, it has also not been closed. New leads may come up, so you might want to discuss with the survivor how they want to be contacted regarding any developments. You may also want to consider referring them to a support group for additional support. Try to maintain some contact with them so they know that they have not been forgotten.
 
 
Other than yearly vigils and the National Day of Remembrance Sept. 25th, what are some other creative ways homicide survivors may honor their loved ones' memories? Please provide ideas on what to say to homicide survivors of cold cases to continue giving them hope for breaks in their loved ones' cases.
 
1.  Charlene Harris
 I am the founder and director of Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK)I design different projects for victimssurvivors of violent crimes. You can honor the memory of your love one in a lot of creative ways that will help empower you and others. MASK 5th Annual Evening of Remembrance will be held 12/17/2010 that engages survivor families to join us in the festivities of singing Christmas songs, Suvivors recite heartfelt Poems and Spoken Word. Entertainment is inspirational music, toys are given to children, parents recieve gifts, a holdiday styled dinner is served. We provide linkages to local and national sites such as OVC, local support groups and professional counseling services. Provide tools that indentify signs of Truama in children and youth as well as themselves. Health care literature that promotes healthy living, eating and lifestyles. At the end adults engage in a general raffle. The benefits are that it helps reduce stress especially around the holdiday season when most if not all survivors of violent crimes revert back to when their love ones taken away by senseless crimes were babies and small children. Survivors of crimes are still underserved, unserved and are invisible populations yet we are here and aren't going anywhere. Raising funds to make it happen is another story. We can't find any Victims Assistante funding that helps fund this important event. In turn we write donation letters and for the past five years have met our goal to obtain a Caterer, Toys, Gifts etc. I hope this information helps.Turning Your Pain Into Power is MASK'S motto that we promote for victims and survivors to help heal themselves.MASKDirectorCharlene Harris www.maskofrichmond.org harris@maskofrichmond.org
 
2.  Diane Dan & Tim
 You can highlight other cold cases that were solved to show victimssurvivors that sometimes cases are solved after many years. Survivors can make memorials to their loved ones in a park or other area. They can have the media do stories on who their loved one was and what they were like. Also, speaking at various events (victim impact panels), schools, law schools, law enforcement trainings, conferences, etc., about their loved one and what happened to them can be very empowering for some survivors.
 
 
I often find that survivors of homicide victims during cold case investigations are extremely angry with the criminal justice system regardless of how long ago the crime happened. What are some ways to deal with that? The current case I have is over 30 years old and the victim now wants us to start from scratch!
 
1.  Mike Durham
 No one likes being ignored. What the system does not allow is full reconciliation, full release of information to victim families in long term cases, and independent review. In the long term cases the working relationship should change to meet case conditions. Sometimes starting from scratch with new technology and changes in investigative methods is a good thing.
 
2.  Diane Dan & Tim
 Its important to acknowledge the survivors where they are. They have a right to be angry about their loved ones homicide and the lack of movement in the investigation. Try to find out where their anger stems from. Did they have a bad experience with the criminal justice system all those years ago? If so, acknowledge if things could have been handled better. Cases that old need to be reinvestigated from the homicide forward, just like new cases. If your department has decided not to pursue the case, then be honest with the survivors about why the decision was made. What do the investigators see as the limitations of the case, i.e., no witnesses or evidence? Sometimes a case is helped by survivors talking to the media about the case and asking for anyone who has information to come forward. You could also explain that while the case is not being pursued, they and their loved one will not be forgotten. And, you could follow-up with them through an occasional phone call or note on the anniversary of their loved ones homicide.
 
 
At what point in the investigation if ever, does the victim's family have the right to review case independantly with a professional or with the cold case detective?? Do survivors have the right to view photos in a cold case investigation, can survivors compel law enforcement to utilize other resources such as vidoq or another investigative body? Is there anyway a survivor can confirm that the national dna database is being used ? Are there any other national resources available to cold cases???
 
1.  Devmom
 I would have thought that the DNA collected from a crime scene would automatically be entered into CODIS.
 
2.  Mike Durham
 The issue of independent review vs. the public's right to know is always brought up as problematic. Generally, no laws are on the books to guarantee that an independent review can be done and what happens if such a review finds that the investigation was conducted negligently. What do you do when the police have lost evidence, not interviewed witnesses, or don't want to work the case because of a lack of DNA?
 
3.  Diane and Tim
 Survivors can always ask to meet with the detective to discuss the investigation, but we are not aware of any right survivors have to independently review a case. Typically, detectives will share whatever information they can without potentially compromising the investigation. Often a detective may withhold some information that could be useful in identifying and arresting a suspect and hopefully convicting the suspect. Many departments will share crime scene photos with survivors, but it is usually done in a very deliberate, thoughtful and supportive way so as not to cause further trauma to the survivors. We are not aware of a method for survivors to compel investigators to use Vidocq or any other investigative body. Some investigators may not be familiar with Vidocq or other organizations so you might want to provide information about the services offered by these organizations, including Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc.s Second Opinion Service. Only family members with standing may bring information to Vidocq, and Vidocq will only accept cases where the law enforcement agency agrees to their help. The DNA database, CODIS, is run by the FBI. As far as we know, there is no mechanism for survivors to confirm that DNA evidence in their case has been submitted into CODIS. What sort of other national resources are you seeking?
 
 
I just picked up responsibility for several homicide cold cases from an advocate who left our organization. What would be the best way to approach the families of victims with regards to introducing myself and building the trust they had in our advocate who moved?
 
1.  Arnet
 May I suggest a most gentle but professional introduction. Give them a brief professional bio of yourself and assure them you are there and present to communicate with them, whether in person or over the telephone. Let them know you are pleased to be of service and you will work with them in an effort to find solutions or closure.
 
2.  Terrie Noble
 As a survivor and victim advocate for co-victim's of homcide I would just be direct, yet compassionate in letting them know who you are and that you are taking over there case as their new advocate. More often then not, victims feel left out in the cold, so to say, so peridocially keeping in touch with them will be extremely beneficial in building a relationship with them.
 
3.  Diane and Tim
 Its unfortunate that the advocate was not able to transition the cases before he/she left your organization. The lack of notice when there has been a transition is often cited as a source of frustration for survivors. Its helpful to keep this in mind as you contact the families in the event that they have a negative reaction to the change in advocates. It sounds like you can determine from your files the type of contact/relationship the previous advocate had with the survivors. This knowledge can help guide you to determine if the family would be more amenable to initial contact from you via phone or mail. Whichever method you decide on, offer the survivors the opportunity to come and meet with you in person to discuss the case. In preparation for the meeting, review the case file so you are familiar with the case and their loved one. Having a face-to-face meeting will allow you and the survivors to get to know each other and establish your own way of interacting and setting real expectations about what you can do for them.
 
 
What do you see are the benefits of the relationship between victims of crime and Mitigation Specialists/Investigators?
 
1.  Mike Durham
 It's really too bad that the defendant in these cases is represented, the state is represented, but there is no process to ensure representation for victims/victim families. It's a harsh realization that in some of these cases that victim preferences and the state's collide with each other. For instance in sentencing.
 
2.  Dan Levey
 I would be very careful before speaking to anyone from the defense team without first letting the state know. The mitigation specialist clearly is part of the defense team and anything that is shared about your case could then be used by the defense. The primary function of the Capital Mitigation SpecialistInvestigator is assisting in the representation of (primarily) indigent defendants facing capital charges at the trial level through the development of evidence relevant to alleged culpability and possible punishment. I personally don't see benefits to talking with the mitigation specialist unless its with the approval of the prosecutor. On occasion, a victim might want to ask questions of the defendant or know of hisher upbringing or what might have caused himher to commit the murder. However, anything like a victimoffender dialogue should be set up with a neutral objective program that can meet over a period of time separately with the victim and offender and this should be done once the case in thru the criminal justice process. In some instances when a victim on their own chose to talk to the defense I would still recommend they let the state know.
 
 
When there is a new lead what can be done to see that the witness(s) involved be interrogated thoroughly, not just "questioned" by police so they can be held accountable for their answers?
 
1.  Diane and Tim
 If a survivor learns of a new lead witness before the interview takes place, the survivor could possibly talk with the investigator about hisher concerns before the interview takes place. If the survivor takes this step, heshe should be clear with the investigator about the specific areas that should be pursued. Beyond that, there is probably nothing a survivor can do to influence the way an interview is handled. The investigators are the experts and want nothing more than to ensure the person responsible is held accountable.
 
 
Do you have any tips for interviewing survivors that were juveniles when the homicide occurred but are now adults?
 
1.  Diane and Tim
 Also, a good way to interview someone years later is to use the cognitive interview techniques, such as: taking the interviewee step by step beginning to end and then shifting from end to beginning and using techniques that enhance recall for numbers, names, etc.... If you are looking at interviewing survivors who are shutting down because of trauma, there are techniques to overcome this by using third person interview techniques where the interviewer has the interviewee report as if the interviewee were watching from the perspective of a camera as an example, which takes the personal side out of the interview.
 
2.  Diane Dan & Tim
 We would suggest that you have someone conduct the interview that is familiar with victimization issues involving juveniles and how those experiences are viewed as an adult. Perhaps you can consult with a child abuse investigator or a forensic interviewer. So much of how the adult survivor recalls the events of the homicide will depend on hisher age when the homicide occurred and the support and services received over the years.
 
 
How can we get the police departments and sheriff departments to continue to revisit cold cases and keep survivors informed? Also, information is crucial to survivors. What can or cant they be told?
 
1.  Linda Sorenson
 Thank you for the information on a cold case registry. I will share this info with our law enforcement. Another frustrating for victims is that the detectives who worked the case are no longer there or retired and they cant seem to get the intrest going with new officers because of the work load they are already under. years go by and they feel forgotten.
 
2.  Dan Levey
  Mike,I am not aware of how many law enforcement agencies have implemented the cold case registries or who keeps track of that info. You may want check with some of the law enforcement assoc in Arizona. Unfortunately, tracking the implementation of the cold case registries was not included in the legislation.
 
3.  Len Trimmer
 The cold case registry system seems to be a great idea for every state, providing a structured framework for communication if the victim's family wants it.
 
4.  Len Trimmer
 The family's speaking out about their cold case case and the impact of the unsolved murder and unresolved investigation at Police Training facilities should be welcomed and helpful for all concerned. It had helped give us some peace.
 
5.  Mike Durham
 Dan, would you please supply me with a list of Arizona investigative agencies that have implemented the cold case registry system as required by law?
 
6.  Diane and Tim
 This is where providing training to law enforcement agencies about the needs of survivors during cold case investigations can be helpful. It is an issue that will be addressed in the model protocol we are developing.
 
7.  Dan Levey
 Victims should try and contact periodically with an agencies cold case unit (if they have one) or homicide department and victims rights often times provides that victims be informed of the status of an investigation However, the sole discretion of what can be told to victims is up to the investigating agency. In Arizona, we have a statute 13-4271 which in part requires A law enforcement agency that has a cold case shall establish and maintain a cold case register. The cold case register shall consist of the names of any victim, victim's family member or other lawful representative of a victim of a cold case who requests that the person's name be included in the cold case register. It requires that a law enforcement agency that maintains a cold case register shall:1. Provide notice of the law enforcement agency's cold case register to any victim, victim's family member or other lawful representative of a victim of a cold case.2. Provide cold case registrants with the following:(a) The contact information for the law enforcement agency.(b) In a timely manner, information on any new developments or reviews of the cold case.3. Encourage registrants to contact the law enforcement agency if the registrant is aware of any new information related to the cold case.C. The name of a victim, a victim's family member or any other lawful representative of a victim shall remain in the register for three years. The law enforcement agency shall make reasonable efforts to provide notice to the registrant of the end of the three year period. On request, the law enforcement agency shall extend the person's registration for an additional three years.D. A law enforcement agency shall give priority to any cold case that is associated with a name in the cold case register unless there is a compelling reason to give priority to a cold case that is not associated with a name in the cold case register.
 
 
Should more counseling be available to survivors of homicide victims during cold case investigations? What are good ways to get individuals to participate in counseling and come in for services?
 
1.  Diane and Tim
 Yes, more counseling should be made available. During our research for this project, we found several surveys of survivors, victim advocates, and investigators that mentioned the need to make counseling available for survivors during cold case investigations. Another issue raised was allowing survivors to file for compensation to cover these costs even though the original crime may have occurred years or decades earlier. Most compensation programs will cover these claims. As an advocate, if you can educate yourself about the complicated grief issues faced by survivors in these cases, then you can be aware of those issues as you are interacting with survivors and try to raise your concerns with them. The key is to then be able to refer them to a counselor or support group that is qualified to address complicated grief issues.
 
2.  Len Trimmer
 Good point. Loved one is gone and the family does not have answers. Counseling is called for but family is devastated, don't know where to begin healing.
 
3.  Dan Levey
 Yes counseling should always be something that is available to survivors of homicide cold cases. Typically, most victim compensation programs will have a list of counselors that specialize in traumatic grief andor working thru a support group organization such as a local Parents Of Murdered Children Chapter should be able to refer a survivor to a counselor. I think a counselor who specializes in this type of grief work should avail themselves to those who come in contact with survivors e.g. homicide support groups, law enforcement, make presentations at victim conferences. At the end of the day, all one can do is avail their services and I don't know of any way to push victimssurvivors to seek counseling. It is a journey and every survivor deals with it different and sometimes initially counseling is not something a survivors feels they want or need at that time. However, as we know that can change over time and as advocates having good referrals counselors is one of the most important tools we can have in our tool box of services.
 
 
New info came in about a woman who was bragging that she witnessed the "suspect" in my child's murder changing his clothes (possibly bloody), that night at her cousin's house. Woman was questioned by police recently. Many people are afraid of retribution from the "suspect" who may be incarcerated in another state. Why can't more pressure be placed on this woman or her cousin to be charged with something unless she testifies against the subject in regard to changing his clothes? As of today, no one has been charged in 8 years.
 
1.  Mike Durham
 Have you addressed these issues with the county prosecutor where the crime was committed? That would be the first step. Try to get a response in writing for your records.
 
2.  Dan Levey
 Law enforcement has the sole discretion to determine how they want to handle the investigation. Law enforcement are the experts in interrogation/investigations and knowing what way to proceed in getting someone to testify. I know often times it takes time for a witness to come forward because of fear of retribution.
 
 
If a suspect, not formally charged, "lawyers up", is there anything that can be done?
 
1.  Devmom
 I am willing to keep talking about this issue of lawyering up. It seems the suspect never formally charged with anything won't speak to police. This is the person everyone thinks thinks killed my son. No one is talking. So how can we get people too talk? Does anyone have some ideas on that?
 
2.  Mike Durham
 Because this is a basic right the concept of lawyering up unfortunately became a taboo topic as well. I would hope that more people open this topic to discussion and brainstorming. Originally, the concept was to protect the innocent person from police harassment and faulty charges. Now, lawyering up is a haven for many people who simply want to avoid being held accountable for criminal acts, homicide and felony sexual assault. Even the Supreme Court saw a change available in their recent ruling on Mirandizing suspects.
 
3.  Len Trimmer
 If the suspect is known, and cannot afford to keep the lawyer over time (or the lawyer dies), legal protection may disappear? The family may then be able to pursue their own attempts to interview and investigate the suspect?
 
4.  Dan Levey
 I am not aware of anything that can prevent a suspect from obtaining an attorney.
 
 
How often should the victim advocate make contact with the co-victim when the case is cold?
 
1.  Mike Durham
 Work up a written case contact plan. Give the co-victim a copy. It'll probably hang on their wall and, if followed, will be a huge source of reassurance to them.
 
2.  Diane and Tim
 This is something that should be discussed with the co-victim. How often you are in contact with each other will depend on how often the co-victim would like an update and what is realistic for the advocate to provide.
 
3.  Terrie Noble
 You might want to ask the family how often they would like to be contacted, i.e. monthly, every other month?
 
4.  Dan Levey
  I think its important that when talking to survivors/co-victims initially you establish how frequent they would like contact and/or avail your contact information. Every survivor is different so I would see what the survivors want. many times the call will just be emphatic listening as no new information will be available.
 
5.  Howard Morton
 Co-victims of unsolved homicides should be contacted at least once a year even if there is nothing new to report. It lets them know their case is not forgotten. Talk to the detective assigned to the case before calling and ask what he has done lately.
 
 
What tips/recommendation can you give as to how do I interview a survior or the family of a victim that has been murdered?
 
1.  Tim
 OVCNSA's First Response to Victims of Crime (April 2008) guidebook does not specifically address interviewing or cold cases, but the guidebook does have a section on first response to survivors of homicide victims. And, there is also a roll call video that accompanies this guidebook.
 
2.  Terrie Noble
 Every case/family will be different, but always remember to be compassionate and knowledgable about what you are speaking about. Try not to get caught up in their excitement and anxiety by remaining calm. Many survivors have bouts of memory loss so don't be surprised if you find yourself repeating yourself.
 
 
As a probstion officer & a victim advocate; how much information can be given to a survior of a murdered family member? I feel the survior should have the right to know everything about the case.
 
1.  Diane and Tim
 That probably depends on the status of the investigationcase. You might want to check with the investigator to find out if there is information that should be withheld so as not to potentially jeopardize the case. Aside from that issue, you can probably share any other information with the survivor.
 
 
During a Cold Case Investigation, what is a survivor to do if the Investigator is non-responsive? To whom should a survivor reach out to in order to get information regarding the status of the investigation?
 
1.  Debbie Taylor
 Well unfortunately I've had this problem with my daughters murder and it didn't have to wait til cold case. The investigator never returns my calls.
 
2.  Len Trimmer
 A protocol for all to follow would be best. Otherwise everyone ignores the family.
 
3.  Mike Durham
 If the chain of command is not responsive, you can weigh the benefits of speaking to the public media.
 
4.  Diane
 You can contact the investigators supervisor to ask for an update. If you still are not getting a response you can go up the chain of command.
 
 
What is the process for re-interviewing "persons of interest" once a case is in cold case division
 
1.  Mike Durham
 The investigator with the investigator's available knowledge and skills determines the need to re-interview a witness. If you have specific knowledge of the value of a re-interview and to what aspect of evidence or proof that the witness has information, then you need to specifically state that to the investigator. Unless the investigative agency has a policy or procedure governing re-interviews, the investigator supervisor have the responsibility to decide.
 
2.  Len Trimmer
 I would hope that this could include re-interviewing (or interviewing for the first time) the victim's family!
 
3.  Diane, Dan, Tim
 The investigator could approach re-interviewing a person of interest as a new interview, especially if you werent the original investigator. This gives the investigator the opportunity to approach the interview with a fresh pair of eyes. It would be helpful to review the notes from the original interview, as well as interviews with other persons of interest to develop new questions.
 
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