Solving Cold Cases

Investigation Techniques and Protocol


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About the Book

Solving a cold case is extremely difficult and many are left unresolved. In this book, retired NCIS Special Agent Joe Kennedy details the methodology he created to solve cold case murders. He offers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look into why cases go cold, how they are investigated and what is needed to successfully resolve them. Author Kennedy shares his motivations and the lessons he has learned while solving these challenging cases. Also examined are cold cases where other detectives have successfully implemented Kennedy’s methodology.
Many books delve into the perspectives of criminals who commit murder, but this text takes a fascinating gumshoe journey into the mind of a cold case detective and his passionate search for the truth. Helping law enforcement solve cold cases brings justice and resolution for the victims and their families, and this book provides detectives and true crime enthusiasts the tools to investigate cold cases in their own communities.

About the Author(s)

Joe Kennedy is a retired federal agent and founder of the Carolinas Cold Case Coalition in Winston-Salem. He lives in Clemmons, North Carolina.


Hogan Hilling is a nationally recognized author of 13 published books. He lives in Crestline, California.


Bibliographic Details

Joe D. Kennedy with Hogan Hilling
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 372
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8765-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4531-5
Imprint: Exposit

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Note by Joe D. Kennedy ix
Preface 1
Introduction 9

 1. Evolution and Popularity of Solving Cold Cases 39
 2. Empathy for the Victims, Their Families, and Detectives 61
 3. The Biology and Physics of Cold Case Investigation 81
 4. The Difference Between a Cold and Fresh Homicide Case 102
 5. Gumshoe Work Precedes DNA Evidence 130
 6. My Gumshoe Methodology and Cold Case Checklist of Investigative Steps 162
 7. Legal and Proper Ways to Collect Evidence and Intelligence 194
 8. Meeting of the Minds with Witnesses and Suspects 218
 9. Forensic Genealogy’s Role in Law Enforcement 243
10. Lessons Learned 272
11. Unsolved Cold Cases 280
12. More Cold Case Success Stories 293

Appendix A: Resources and Support Services 311
Appendix B: List of Cases in Order of Appearance in Book 318
Chapter Notes 321
Bibliography 339
Index 355