Cold Case Background


Thank you for your interest in the investigation of Cold Case homicides as undertaken by the Ottawa Police Service. We are committed to the investigation of all serious crimes and earnestly consider the concept that victims of homicide are not forgotten. We promote the notion that the investigation of homicides is a cooperative undertaking involving the police and the community in which we function.

In the City of Ottawa, the investigation of homicides is the responsibility of officers of the Major Crime Section. In situations where the original investigation has failed to yield resolution, the file may be assigned to the Cold Case Section for review. The rationale for this determination is in keeping with the protocol established at the outset of the Cold Case Initiative in 1999 where investigations would be considered for review where there exists a perceived potential for resolution. The typical criteria for this determination includes but is not limited to, new evidence or recent information advanced by a source that is worthy of follow up, physical evidence that in view of advanced technology may be of probative value in the continued investigation, or cases that are believed to be linked to other similar incidents.

The investigation of unsolved murders is an in depth and labour intensive process. In terms of the scope of the review undertaken in the Cold Case Section, investigations generally involve the examination of the information obtained in the original inquiry, the development and analysis of new information and investigative strategies and the application of new scientific technologies. Where possible, each case has been prepared in accordance with the Provincial standard in major case investigation. Each file has been evaluated and inputted into the national VICLAS (Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System) for comparison to cases from other jurisdictions in Canada. For more information on VICLAS, visit the RCMP Web site.

Where possible, cases have been subjected to an evaluation by trained examiners from the Forensic Investigation Section of the Ottawa Police Service. Crime scene evidence from cases has been reviewed and subjected to further scientific examination using a number of varied processes. Where possible, new and prevailing technologies are considered in the context of cold case investigations in respect to the perceived utility in each file. Advances in trace evidence collection and analysis, use of alternate light sources, latent fingerprint collection and examination, are but some of the processes reviewed.

Where possible, biological material is extracted from suitable case material and DNA subject profiles are extracted for possible inclusion into the Crime Scene Index of the National DNA databank.

Cold Cases are often reviewed when new information is obtained. In some instances, persons involved in the original investigation, having been reserved in disclosing information relevant at the time of the original investigation, have come forward, tired of the burden of carrying the information for many years. Often personal circumstances change and the reality of carrying secrets in relation to the death of friends and family necessitate their disclosure. The Cold Case Section is eager and receptive to speak to anyone so inclined. Information may be provided directly to the Ottawa Police Cold Case office at (613) 236-1222, extension 2547 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at (613) 233-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-8477.