Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
There are many homicides that go unsolved, as well as cases from over fifty years ago may even remain open. You may want to access unsolved homicide cases, or you may want to research old solved cases.
Whether you are researching old homicide cases for your own means, or as part of solving the investigation, it can be difficult to know where to find information. You may not know where to find out the details of the case and how to obtain that information legally. There are various ways you can find old homicide cases, and it really depends on the purpose.
Here’s How To Do It
Find Your Information
There are various ways to find old cases, from minor cases, to homicide. If you already have a small understanding of the case you’re researching, you can look up the defendant’s name or the case number assigned within the court documents online.
Most homicides are publicized, especially significant cases that haven’t been solved right away. It is wise to Google search for your case, using the victim, defendant, or location to find out information. When you have found out a clear basis of information, you can use this to file a request to view online court files.
Court Knows It All
To solve the case, you need as much information as you can get! At the end of the day, the information you have gathered means nothing within the law if there are no relevant court documents. For example, if it has been rumored in a newspaper clipping about the victim’s actions or the supposed perpetrator, things won’t run as smoothly.
This is especially true if you are trying to solve a case; you need to get as many court documents as possible to back up your case. The court will have every piece of information that exists, and most of it is available to the public. If you are serious about finding and solving an old homicide case, you need as much as you can get.
Know the Court
Each court is completely different, and some courts may have more information than others. Different courts in different states will of course have different systems, online and in person. It is important to know how the court works, and if you will be able to obtain documents and files.
You will need to know which systems they use and how to contact them. It is also a good idea to go to the court in person, as some information may not be online. Some information may not be online because of when it was archived, or simply because it may have been too difficult to upload it.
If you go to the courthouse, you can enter names of defendants, and use their own computers. You may find more on the court computers because it will have its own organisational structure. All you need is the case number, and you can find all the information that exists.
There are organisations working on old cases all the time, from the FBI to a local group. You could get involved with a local group or a research community to contribute information and learn information about old cases, and know where to find more. There are specific research websites that exist simply to solve cold homicide cases, and their websites are updated regularly.
‘Defrosting cold cases’ may help you find archived cases, or search for an old one. With the internet, people are now accessing this information and using it for beneficial reasons. By putting cold cases online, all the information is already there and readily available for you, so you can do some extra research yourself.
There will also be like minded people who are interested in solving cases, and will be willing to divide their time to this, whereas the police department and courts deal with all crime. ‘Defrosting cold cases’ runs by members of the public submitting cases, as well as research by the author.
The site includes information about missing persons cases, wrongful convictions, forensics in homicide, and unidentified bodies. This information being readily available will help with research, and will certainly allow you to find an old homicide case.
More resources and archives
Depending on the type of homicide, there may be specific archives to help you find cases. For example, there is the Gun violence archive which will list all violence with guns if you know how the homicide victim was killed. As simple as it sounds, using Google to search for a victim along with keywords is one of the best ways forward.
After all, this is usually what leads you to finding court documents! Google also has an archive section where you can find old archived cases and news. If you know the state and city the homicide occurred in, there will also be city archives.
Sites like Reddit can surprisingly be helpful to obtain facts and find old homicide cases, but you may struggle to find official resources on Reddit. There are specific sections on sites like Reddit that focus on true crime and unsolved cases.
The police department local to the unsolved homicide may also give you information, especially if the victim is unidentified. You may have to pay to obtain this information if you are not related to the case. There is ‘Newspapers’ which simply allows you to browse newspaper archives from the 1700s.
Court laws in different states
Your access to court records and information may differ by state, and it is important to be vigilant with this. The court has to give permission for you to obtain those files, whether that is online, or in person. Most court documents that are brought into a hearing will be public and available to access, but those that are less known, you will have to get permission.
You have the right and the freedom to information, so even if you have to pay a small fee, you can still obtain documents in the court. The rules on obtaining court documents truly depend on what state you are in, or which state the homicide occurred in, and this is something you will have to find out.
Old homicide cases are interesting, and they are readily available to research. Most of the time, the police may not have had enough time, information, or resources to continue investigating a case, and the case will go cold. This is a great opportunity for the public to investigate, and a lot of cold homicide cases are solved from tip-offs and information from the public.
You may also be wanting to find an old homicide case that is still open and you want to continue researching, or an old case that has been solved that seems interesting. All in all, most old homicide cases are available online in archives, and at your request, court documents can also be provided. We hope this sums up where to find old homicide cases, as well as the way to find documents on the internet.