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Boston Police Department FY 23 Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $533,200)

Proposal Abstract

The Boston Police Department’s Unsolved Homicide Squad and Crime Laboratory will partner with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, and FBI to reopen up to 50 cold homicide cases to 1) Increase the number of cleared cases; 2) Increase the number of solved homicides eligible for prosecution; and 3) Decrease the number of unknown offender profiles in CODIS related to homicide investigations in Boston.  To accomplish these goals, they will: Identify the number of unsolved homicide cases with DNA currently searching in CODIS; Identify, locate and complete case files; Locate, collect, process and analyze evidence that may assist in prosecution; Utilize re-hired homicide detectives to work on cold cases that they had worked on in past years; Utilize travel funds to further gather evidence from victims and/or other leads that may live out of State; Evaluate cases and determine their level of solvability based on matrix, and developed checklists; Utilize FIGG to further investigations and create actionable leads on cases deemed suitable; Use information gathered to assist prosecutors in the litigation of cold cases where DNA from a suspect has been identified; Enter necessary information into appropriate databases, (i.e. CODIS, ViCAP and NamUS); Utilize travel funds to send BPD Unsolved Homicide Squad detectives to related training so that they may better understand the use of new DNA technologies when investigating cold case homicides; Engage community related to the work of the Unsolved Homicide Squad, as to increase understanding and trust between the police and communities of color; Facilitate community input and engagement through outreach and transparency, as cold cases are reopened for further investigation; Ensure involvement of the Homicide Unit’s Victim Witness Resource Officers to engage with families whose cold cases are revived due to solvability, as to mitigate re-traumatization during investigation phase, through prosecution and on-going after the trial; and ensure grant compliance through information provided by the BPD Homicide Unit, Unsolved Homicide Squad Program Coordinator, the Crime Lab, the ORD and the SCDAO.  

The intended beneficiaries of this initiative will be the surviving families, friends and communities of color most impacted by cold case homicides within the City of Boston. Outcomes expected include: an increase in the number of cases where suspect DNA was identified, and an increase in the number of convictions resulting from prosecution.

Date Created: September 14, 2023