When does a case become cold? Actually cases can be cold or hot during the initial investigation. Law enforcement agencies may consider that a case has gone cold if there are no new leads within 3 years, but it can vary.

If a loved one is murdered or abducted it is difficult to handle. If the victim is never found or the case remains unsolved, it becomes even more difficult to handle. To my knowledge there is not a national data base on cases that have gone cold.

Betsy is an expert with the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI), a non-profit agency that works with college students on cold cases. Based in Atlanta, colleges across the United States are part of the group. Also, experts from different fields donate their time to train the students and work the cases.

A new process has been invented that is helping solve cold cases. It’s call M-VAC and is able to pick up DNA from objects on which it could not be done in the past.


  • Families and/or law enforcement may contact CCIRI regarding a case coldcrimecases.org
  • Sheryl McCollum, the Director of CCIRI, and Betsy Ramsey co-authored a college textbook Cold Case – Pathwaysto Justice, published by Pearson Education
  • M-VAC – Laura Pettler PhD, an expert with CCIRI currently has an M-VAC machine
  • A conference is held every year. In 2018, it will be in Nashville, TN on May 4th to 6th. CCIRI will be there.