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Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA

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The Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program provides funds to:

  • Prosecute violent cold case crimes.
  • Decrease the number of awaiting/pending prosecution(s) of unresolved violent cold case crimes.

This program is aimed at providing resources for agencies to support the prosecution of violent cold case crimes where a suspect (known or unknown) has been identified through DNA evidence.

Provided a DNA profile attributed to a known or unknown suspect has been generated, this program also provides resources to support investigative activities, as well as crime and forensic analyses, that could lead to the successful prosecution of violent cold case crimes.

This program is one of the forensic science programs that moved from the National Institute of Justice to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in FY 2020.

See the Forensic Sciences page for additional resources and to learn more about how BJA supports this topical area.

 Learn about the impact of this program in the BJA blog post, "Unraveling the Mystery: The Nancy Bennallack Case Finally Solved."

Why This Matters

There is a cold case crisis within the United States. Based on data from 1980 to 2016, there are an estimated 242,000 unresolved homicides. The clearance rate for violent crimes declined from 78.3 percent in 1975 to 59.4 percent in 2016. Based on Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Part 1 data, the rate of homicides continues to increase.

It is clear that with an increasing homicide rate coupled with a decreasing clearance rate, there exists a need for the justice community to address. Justice is owed to the victims, their families, and friends. The Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program at BJA helps prosecutors meet their challenges and gaps in resources in order to provide justice to victims, their families, and friends in cold cases.

Date Modified: March 18, 2024
Date Created: September 9, 2020