U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

City of Fort Wayne Police Department Cold Case Project

Award Information

Award #
15PBJA-22-GG-03136-DNAX
Location
Awardee County
Allen
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2022
Total funding (to date)
$500,000

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)

The City of Fort Wayne Police Department has 304 open violent cold case homicides dating back to 1945. A large portion of these cases have possible DNA or have a DNA profile that has not generated a match in CODIS and have become dormant due to a variety of reasons that include exhaustion of tangible leads and limited technology to test collected evidence. The grant funding will allow detectives to review the cold cases and test evidence in hopefully 53-70 of those cases over the next three years, which could ultimately bring justice to the victims and hold the guilty accountable for their actions. The FWPD’s Homicide Unit has a comprehensive plan for cold case homicides in place. A panel of homicide detectives will collaboratively start with the most recent cold cases and review them for evidence with viable DNA or a known DNA profile. FWPD Detectives will be asked to identify their most recent cold cases that have a high solvability factor. Former FWPD Homicide Detectives that are still active members of the FWPD will be asked to identify cold cases that they believe have a strong solvability factor and will have further collaboration with current FWPD Homicide detectives. Detectives will review with the Allen County Prosecutor’s future prosecution with a known offender, witness cooperation, evidence, and feasibility of using advanced DNA technology with a qualified lab that wasn’t previously available at the time of the crime. FWPD plans to utilize advanced DNA analysis, including forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) analysis, with a qualified lab when applicable to a case. The FWPD is seeking priority consideration (1A) under Executive Order 13985 (see page 2-3 in program narrative). FWPD’s program will address potential inequities and barriers to equal opportunity, and/or contribute to greater access to services for underserved and historically marginalized populations. After an initial review of the department’s cold cases, it was determined that 224 cases (73.7%) involved victims who are African American, Hispanic, and Asian. The primary objective of this project is to decrease the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases where suspect DNA has been identified which in turn will increase the prosecution of violent crime cold cases in Fort Wayne.

Date Created: September 27, 2022