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News | July 9, 2022

Army CID Establishes Cold Case Unit


The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) furthers its transformation and expands its commitment to support and protect Department of the Army, Soldiers, civilians, contractors, and their families. 

The recent establishment of the Cold Case Homicide Unit (CCU) in the Criminal Investigations and Operations Directorate (IOD), brings to the forefront unsolved cases that have exhausted all investigative leads.

According to Supervisory Special Agent Todd Howell, death and cold case desk officer, within the IOD, an investigation will be moved to ‘Cold Case’ status when the local field office has conducted all logical and practical leads, and evidence has been analyzed to the extent of current technological and scientific capabilities.

CID defines a cold case as, “a death investigation wherein the manner of death has been ruled as a homicide or is suspected to be a homicide, and all logical investigative leads have been exhausted without resolution.”

Upon identification of a case meeting these standards, coordination is made with the responsible Field Office, and the physical case will be transferred to the Cold Case Unit for review, assessment, and to be monitored. As new leads are identified, advances in technology are made, and updates are received, the case will be expeditiously and thoroughly worked. 

New and improved technology continues to be relevant in solving cases. Updates to laboratory techniques and capabilities have allowed CID special agents to have evidence re-examined with better results. The advances in DNA extraction techniques along with the establishment of public DNA databases have opened up a new door of possibilities on cold cases. The CCU team works hand in hand with scientists and forensic experts at CID’s Defense Forensic Science Center and Criminal Investigation Laboratory to review cases as new technology is developed. 

Howell said, the CCU team consists of four highly trained personnel trained in the latest cold case investigative techniques, procedures and processes, with a dedicated mission of bringing justice and resolution to the victims and families of these unresolved cases. CID special agents and the CCU team actively pursue further training and courses to remain at 1the forefront of cutting edge technology and investigative techniques, such as Forensic Genealogy. 

The team has direct support and assistance from psychologists working in CID’s Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU) and intelligence analysts from the Criminal Intelligence Operations Center (CIOC), along with support from specifically identified CID case agents throughout the world.