How is a “cold case” homicide investigated differently than a new homicide?

A cold case homicide is investigated differently from that of a new homicide case in many ways. A cold case homicide investigation exploits the elements of time, technology and advanced investigative techniques to further develop evidence in the case and to uncover the truth. Cold case detectives rely largely on the work of the previous detectives. These cases are often hindered by unexploited opportunities, incomplete documentation, deceased witnesses and missing evidence. Using hindsight, detectives can explore any missed opportunities or investigative gaps and re-process evidence using modern scientific techniques.

The advancements in forensic science have far surpassed the scientific abilities of our predecessors. DNA was first used to convict a murderer in the United States in 1988. It was not until 1994 that DNA evidence survived court appeals and became more of a commonplace in courtrooms. It was only in 2013 that the United States Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement could obtain DNA samples from arrested felons. This has expanded the DNA database greatly. Additionally, there are newer techniques being used to analyze DNA, including YSTR DNA and Familial DNA searching. These new techniques can be used on previously tested evidence and evidence that has never been tested. Additionally, investigators can utilize national databases which have the ability to connect local homicides with other similar homicides across the country.

The element of time is a positive factor in the solvability of these types of cases. In every case there is someone in our community who holds information which may be significant in solving a cold case. Relationships change over time, and many cold cases are solved when a former witness, friend, or relative is located and who is tired of hiding information that may bring a murderer to justice.

Detectives will maximize the elements of time, technology and advanced investigative techniques to gather additional evidence to uncover the truth. Our ultimate goal is that every case, and every victim’s family, realize the closure of seeing that justice is served.

What do I do if I believe that I have information regarding a cold case homicide?

Please contact our detectives as soon as possible. Our detectives are available day and night to communicate with you. We value any piece of information, no matter how small or insignificant you believe it to be. We know that cold case homicides are sometimes solved with the revelation of the slightest detail. We respectfully request the help of the community to provide us with valuable information to bring justice for our victims.

You may provide your information anonymously, but we prefer to quietly speak with you. Please contact Detective Jeff Kay at (805) 385-8174 or email us at oxnardcoldcase@oxnardpd.org with any information. You may remain anonymous and still provide valuable information by calling Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. You can also visit www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org to submit a tip via text or email.

The City of Oxnard offers a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect(s) in homicide cases.