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20 Investigations That Went Cold Or Took Decades to Solve

Cold Cases

20 Investigations That Went Cold Or Took Decades to Solve

With the advent of DNA testing came the ability to solve otherwise unsolvable crimes. This led to many cold cases coming to a close. And as it happens, a lot of our readers love such stories…

And since over the years we’ve written multiple examples of such cases, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of our best for you to enjoy!

Police Discover New Suspect in 1957 Illinois Cold Case



7-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared from her front lawn after she and her sister had been playing. Eventually, Maria’s body was found and police took the investigation into high gear. They believed the killer to be convicted local teen John Tessier and eventually, he was put away because of this. Nevertheless, decades of doubt have made it seem as though he wasn’t the killer after all.

FBI Solves 35-Year-Old Cold Case Thanks To California Man’s Fake ID

Air Force captain William Hughes Jr. disappeared while on assignment. Authorities found personal effects and schedules at his townhouse but no evidence of where he was or anything indicating that he had flown the coop of his own accord. Authorities believed he had either defected or been abducted by the Soviets. In the end, he was right under everyone’s nose living a new life.

Florida Woman Sheds Light On 10-Year-Old Unsolved Cold Case

Leslie Stewart was stuck in a loveless marriage and decided it was in their best interests to turn their marriage into an open one. Both slept around and eventually, Leslie became romantically embroiled with a man who had no compunctions about cheating on his wife Rosemary. Unlike Leslie and her husband, this Rosemary did not know about the affair and then mysteriously disappeared one day. Years later, after a decade of secrets and lies, Leslie came forward and revealed the truth about her lover’s involvement in his first wife’s death.

Evidence Uncovered In Mysterious Cold Case Of Missing Spring Breakers

Kim Vaccaro and Leslie Eisman were best friends who had fortunately found themselves attending the University of Buffalo. Like so many other students, they had planned to travel to sunny Ft. Lauderdale Florida on spring break. They decided to take the bus, as that was the cheapest route. Then, again, like so many other hitchhikers, they wound up vanishing along the way. The ensuing mystery of their disappearance gripped the nation.

Investigators Use Unorthodox Method To Work Towards Solving 45-Year-Old Cold Case

Sister Catherine Anne was a dedicated servant of God and an inspiring teacher who did everything she could to help her students. Then, in the wake of a scandal involving abuse by priests in a Catholic school, Sister Cathy was found murdered in the woods. And eventually, the other victims of this alleged abuse were able to shed light on the culprit.

Terrible Accident Sheds Light On 3-Decade-Old Cold Case

College Student Karen Wilson was gearing up for a fun vacation with her friend when she vanished from a rural New York shopping center the day before their trip. The main culprit was Brad Woodworth, a truck driver and unabashed loner who was the ideal suspect in this crime. Eventually, a fire in Woodworth’s home took his life before he could be proven guilty and thus the case remains open.

FBI Joins Investigation Into 30-Year-Old Cold Case of VA State Trooper

The lingering mystery of Virginia State Trooper John Bowman’s vicious and unexpected death has lingered in the public’s collective memory for over three decades. Officer Bowman was found stabbed in his house in the middle of the night. Local police were soon so overwhelmed that they needed the assistance of the FBI, who determined that the potential killer may have actually been one of Bowman’s fellow officers.

19-Year-Old Cold Case Is Reopened After Mysterious Note About A Missing Girl Was Found On A $1 Bill

11-year-old Mikelle Biggs and her 9-year-old sister, Kimber were waiting for the ice cream man when Mikelle disappeared from right outside their house. They believed the kidnapper to be a neighbor whom both of the parents had gotten a bad feeling about. Eventually, he was sent to jail for a different crime but was still the prime suspect. That is until a dollar bill with a message in Mikelle’s handwriting showed up nearly two decades later.

Authorities Finally Uncover Credible Lead in 40-Year-Old Lyon Sisters Cold Case

Katherine and Sheila Lyon disappeared from their home in the suburbs of Washington D.C. The ensuing search and subsequent news story became increasingly grim and hopeless as time wore on. A local carnival worker was the main suspect but was eventually ruled out, until 40 years later when he became a person of interest again due to the forgotten testimony of a confidential witness.

Ghostly Encounter Haunts Stay-At-Home Mom Into Digging Up 20-Year-Old Cold Case

22-year-old Sheila Gibbons had planned to attend the game but never made it. Instead, she had been found dead in her apartment the following morning. The murder was so brutal that the killer had almost ripped her heart out of her chest. Even with a few promising suspects, the trail went cold until Sheila’s ghost informed her who the killer was. DNA evidence eventually proved the apparition right.

Suspects Come Forward After German Police Unearth Details In 16-Year-Old Cold Case

German-born Peggy Knobloch was a bright, beautiful 9-year-old who disappeared walking home from school one day. It wasn’t until years later that police discovered she hadn’t actually disappeared at all but had been accidentally murdered. Unfortunately, the man’s admission of guilt hit a bit of a snag because of a legal loophole.

Missing Cold Case Of Martha Jean Lambert Finally Solved After 25 Years

Martha Jean disappeared in November of 1985, and for decades, her mother, brother, and their community wondered what had happened to her. Then, David Lambert showed up at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office with a startling bit of news. He had seen what happened to Martha Jean that night but had been afraid to come forward to discuss it for the past two decades.

Troubled Teen Runaway

Jessica Lyn Keen whose emergence into her teens resulted in a sullen, disrespectful, rebellious version of her former self. This bad behavior soon saw her living at a group home for counseling, but when she disappeared from Huckleberry House without a trace, everyone suspected far more than just an average case of a teenage runaway. The mystery of her disappearance persisted until nearly two decades later.

New DNA Analysis Helps Solve 26-Year-Old Case That Shattered a Community

Christy Mirack was the type of teacher a student would be lucky to have. Caring, attentive, and kind to everyone she met. Her brutal murder and the ensuing investigation shocked the nation to its core. The question of who could kill such a wonderful person lingered for 26 years until DNA evidence surfaced that could finally put an end to the mystery.

Main Suspect Linked To 17-Year-Old Case After Texas Family Vanishes Without A Trace

Cristie Schoen grew up seeing the world and learning how to cook, a pastime that she eventually employed while competing on TV’s the Next Food Network Star. She met her future husband, actor A.J. Codd and the two left Hollywood for a quiet life somewhere else. The two disappeared a few months after the move and before long, police linked their apparent deaths to someone whom the couple had trusted.

Cold Case Reopens After Unsuspected Man Comes Clean

When Oregon Police found an unidentified body strangled at the Longview Hotel, many scenarios about what might have happened went through their heads. Was it an accident? Was the killer out for revenge? Was it mistaken identity? And most importantly, who could have done it. The case went cold until a family member admitted that they believed the culprit to be one of their family members.

New Clues Found In Suspect’s DNA Give Cops First Lead In 45-Year-Old Cold Case

Like so many of these stories, the disappearance of an 11-year-old Newport girl who went missing a block away from her home went cold soon after the girl’s body was found. The police knew little about the case save a description of the kidnapper as he had looked to eyewitnesses in those days. Years later, they used DNA to age up the man’s descriptions and help uncover his true identity.

Police Crack 32-Year-Old Cold Case Thanks To Crumpled Napkins

12-year-old Michella had taken her younger siblings to the nearby park to play, but when she returned home to grab the picnic lunch she’d packed, she disappeared. They found her body eight hours later but no evidence of who had killed her. The killer killed again a few months later and eventually, DNA evidence from that crime scene was used to create a possible genetic profile of the killer. Though it was hardly cut-and-dry.

Australian Police Get An Astonishing Call That Reopens Cold Case 52 Years After Siblings Vanished Without A Trace

The disappearance of the Beaumont children was one of Australia’s most persistent cold cases for decades. The three kids had vanished while at the beach and though dozens of people helped search for the children afterward, it was useless. One day though, a man came forward saying he had seen the kids at his own house when he was a young lad himself, though the circumstances were complicated.

37 Years Later, FBI Reopens Cold Case of Most Wanted Man When Old Evidence Leads To Grim Discovery

Sometimes, the mystery behind some cold case crimes will persist even after the killer has died. The murder of Police Chief Gregory Adams was never solved by the prosecution of the criminal responsible for the death. Instead, the revelation of who actually killed the decorated officer only came about when the killer’s accomplice came forward to admit their complicity.

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