Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)
The goals of this project would be to increase the number of violent crime cold case prosecutions and to decrease the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases awaiting/pending prosecution. These two goals will be accomplished by the Houston Police Department in conjunction with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The primary objectives that will be achieved are the prosecution of violent crime cold cases where suspects have been identified through DNA evidence along with decreasing the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases where suspect DNA has been identified. As for the second of the primary objectives the Houston Police Department will begin the grant by reviewing 100 unsolved murder cases in which an unknown suspect’s DNA have been extracted and entered into CODIS. These cases will be from 2019 and older.
Regardless of the amount of time that has passed, there is no statute of limitations for murder in the state of Texas. The department acknowledges that not all cases may be able to benefit from the latest DNA technology, but the cases can be better reviewed with this grant in anticipation for new DNA technology that may emerge in the future. This allows the Cold Case Squad to never completely shelf an unsolved murder in Houston.
Many families are awaiting justice for their loved ones and it becomes disheartening for those families when they see other agencies solving these type of murders. With the use of genealogy and advancements in DNA technology, the Houston Police Department will be able to not only show their commitment but their capability on bringing closure and justice for the families of murdered loved ones. The department knows that the community is a vital part and these cases being solved will demonstrate its commitment to the community in which it serves.