Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cold Case Chat Recap: April 1, 2011

Today I was privileged to guest host the Cold Case Live Chat on Twitter from 12-1 p.m. EST, using the hashtag #CClivechat. This weekly Friday chat began in February, hosted by @Vidocq_CC and @ColdCaseSquad. My Twitter username is @katcop13.

I started a thread of discussion concerning the recent discovery of a 5th body on Gilgo Beach. When a K-9 officer searched Gilgo Beach in December for missing person Shannan Gilbert, he found remains -- and additional searching turned up three more bodies -- but none turned out to be Shannan. The latest body was located about a mile away. The police will now expand the search to reach approximately 7.5 miles.

The fifth body has also turned out not to be Shannan. This piece of information was revealed to us during the tweet chat from @ColdCaseSquad. The most recent update can be read here.

Anyone with information about the victims found at Gilgo Beach or the whereabouts of Shannan Gilbert can anonymously contact the SCPD by leaving a tip here.

Richard Mark Case (@TrickyCase), a fingerprint expert from The Fingerprint Society in the U.K., joined in the first half of the chat to answer questions. We learned that fingerprints would be too difficult to lift from building materials due to its coarseness, but there's a chance a finger/palmprint can be left in wet cement. The discussion continued concerning several other sources from which a print can or can't be lifted -- even skin!

Richard believes the best opportunity for prints in the Heath case would be the garbage bags.

The lively chat included questions and comments about DNA, fabric, vacuum metal deposition, and several other topics.

Another thread I began had to do with the recent request by the FBI for assistance in cracking a code in a 1999 case. Turns out this particular case stems from St. Louis ~ @bluedog89's neck of the woods, and we learned that @LilacLounge is interested in cryptography. These chats are always fascinating.

Thanks to @TrickyCase @ColdCaseSquad @LilacLounge @oceanbluepress and @bluedog89 for participating in today's chat ~ and I am grateful to @jamesatkinspics @UCsci @nancyjparra @DiscoveryID for their RTs.

You can read a transcript on either or SearchHash (I tried fitting one of them onto this blog post, but was unsuccessful).

I look forward to participating in many more Cold Case Live Chats ~ hope to see you there.


  1. Kathleen - That's so interesting that you hosted a chat about those cold cases! As I read your recap (thanks for that!), I was thinking about how modern social networking like Twitter has changed the way investigations are done and how police spread the word about information they want. I wonder whether any cases are being solved because of the instant access people have to information. Now, the police can put out a request for information to millions of people - in a few keystrokes. I wonder whether that's made their investigative work easier.......

  2. Hi Margot,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. When I was working in Crime Stoppers as an officer (I volunteer on the Board of Directors -- I joined two days after retiring), we were actively using the internet, and that helped tremendously. The publicity I generated on a serial robber proved to be the key, when a caller from another state contacted me on the tips line. Turned out he was wanted in several states. It cleared many serious crimes ~ and it was all due to spreading the word.
    I'm a firm believer in sharing information. Social media helps put that into the stratosphere!
    I've always said: It takes the right person (the one with the info), to see the request for info at the right time (when it airs on TV, radio, or if they see it on the internet), AND he/she has a good conscience (and I might add, in some cases, a "shift" in a relationship has occurred) ~ and when these things happen, the police benefit when the person contacts police ~ it can be anonymously thru Crime Stoppers (phone or web tip), by walking into a precinct, or simply letting a cop know.
    Thanks for opening up the discussion, Margot!

  3. Hey Vidster!
    Thanks for stopping by. It was my pleasure to step in, and I'd be happy to fill in any time ~ keep me in mind as a sub.

    Good luck with the code!

  4. Hi Kath,
    great job hosting the Cold Case Live Chat. It is expanding and we're adding new experts each week. We may need to look into a Blog Radio spot, I think it would be well received.

  5. Thanks, Joe ~ I enjoy the weekly chats you & Vidster have set up. I'm a big advocate for sharing information ~ it's how crimes get solved.
    Love the idea of a Blog Radio Spot ~ very cool!
    Have a great week ~ see you on the chat this Friday!