In 1984, a white female body, deceased, was located in a Broward County, Florida canal. After investigators were unable to establish her identity, she was classified as a “Jane Doe.” The case eventually turned into a “cold case” when the investigators ran out of leads to pursue.
Unfortunately, such a case is far from unique. Each year, law enforcement officers around the world deal with thousands of cases of unidentified remains and missing persons. Officers work diligently to establish the identity of victims, but they often face an extremely difficult task. Decomposition and other damage obviously makes identification challenging. Also, when victims are found in remote locations far from where they were last seen, it can be even harder to make the proper connection. In those cases, trying to match missing and unidentified persons is further complicated by the lack of a central database.*
With the added pressure of new cases, officers have little time and few resources to try to develop new leads on old cases. Officers are left frustrated: despite their hard work, their cases remain unsolved and a victim remains nameless.