One Step Closer

Long-Term Investigations


Sometimes crimes can't be solved right away. This can happen when there is evidence that is missing, or just not enough evidence, or there are just problems with how a scene has been laid out, and there's just not enough to go on. When evidence is missing or lacking, this can make it more difficult for the police, FBI and other investigative services to be able to solve crimes. Additional delays can come from witnesses who die, evidence that’s tainted or destroyed, or if there’s just not enough to draw a solid conclusion. If there are delaying factors, this can also stretch out how they are able to get the answers that they need.

For example, if there's a crime scene that is missing DNA evidence, if there are fingerprints that are missing, or if they are unable to find witnesses for a crime that may have happened, this can slow down a case. Another thing that can slow down how a crime is solved, is if there are no witnesses. Take a case where someone happens to die, but investigators cannot tell how it took place, or pin down clearly whether or not it was suicide for example, versus what could be a potential crime scene where it was set up to be to look like a suicide. If there is not enough substantiating evidence to go on, this can delay how the act will be rectified.

In other cases, there are issues with forensic evidence where there may not be enough to go on in terms of a true and clear DNA sample, a strand of hair may not be strong enough, or they may not be able to find all the materials that they need if for example a crime scene was cleaned and the criminal washed away any traces of evidence, burned or destroyed it. As time goes on, it can make trying to solve a crime more difficult, as new crimes take place and agents have to then focus on the new crimes.

Sometimes an old crime can sit on the back burner because too much time has gone by without new evidence. These cases can sometimes take years to solve. For example the case of Eton Patz, the young boy who was killed in the seventies in New York City. This case is still open, and they're trying to find now, between two men, one of whom has been declared criminally insane, which one might be his killer. The other man may be a pedofile, but as the case originated in the seventies, they didn’t have the cameras and surveillance we have now, so they can’t confirm whether or not they had something to do with his murder.

In cases like these and also in cases that take place in rural areas where they may not have access to advanced crime scene investigation methodologies used, it's very important to train their officers and agents on things to look for and how to better gather the evidence that they need and to preserve it to help to solve these cases.

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