After the successful launch of the world’s first International Cold Case Analysis by police academies and universities in December 2020, the second analysis has just been completed under the roof of the Police Expert Network on Missing Persons (PEN-MP), AMBER Alert Europe and Locate International, and the results have been presented to the responsible investigators and prosecutors in Germany.

For more than three months, students from the participating British universities of South Wales, Leeds Beckett, Staffordshire, Winchester, Central Lancashire, Plymouth Marjon, Bath and Glasgow Caledonian and the University of Murdoch from Australia worked together with students from the German universities of Bonn and Cottbus and the Police Academy of Lower Saxony under the leadership of Mr. Karsten Bettels in more than fifteen meetings to analyse two cold cases.

Strengthening cooperation

The number of participating universities and students compared to the first analysis have increased significantly from 7 to 10 universities and a near doubling of participating students at Bachelor and Master level in Forensic Science, Criminology, Psychology, Forensic Anthropology, and Law Psychology took place.

New Insights

The two cases that were provided by the Public Prosecutor’s Offices in Verden and Oldenburg (Germany) for the Police of Nienburg and Wilhelmshaven were a missing person case of a minor girl and a murder case of an unknown victim found in the North Sea. In both cases, the students were able to develop helpful suggestions about the analysis of interrogations as well as further modern forensic methods to identify the unknown murder victim, on the duration of time he was in the water as well as local references to the clothes he was wearing. In this context, a great gain was the different perspective and interpretation of the worn clothing of the murder victim by the students from English-speaking countries. They also made concrete proposals for more extensive public search measures to identify the victim.

Next Steps

Another Cold Case Analysis is planned from December 2021 to February 2022. This is a step towards establishing the International Cold Case Analysis project as a fixed component under the roof of the PEN-MP. Taking into account the focus on missing persons cases, especially of children in the context of Slovenia’s EU Presidency, the following analysis will also focus on cold cases with children as victims.