Welcome to Ohio Valley Cold Cases

Home Of The Ohio Valley Cold Case Initiative

Monday, September 20, 2010

Locard's Exchange Principle

Try as they may, perpetrators are learning that it is indeed impossible to commit the perfect crime.
The same high-tech, forensic tools giving today's investigators an upper hand in their quest for the truth can help solve crimes of years gone by. Cases may grow cold, but they are never closed.
A motivating factor in the development of forensic science has been Locard's Exchange Principle, which dictates that "with contact between two items, there will be an exchange." It’s the basis of trace evidence collection at a crime scene.
Trace evidence is material found at a crime scene that can prove a suspect had been there.  No matter how much a person tries to sanitize a crime scene, something is left behind.
As a medical examiner in World War I, Edmond Locard analyzed stains or dirt on fallen soldiers' uniforms to help the French Secret Service determine where and how the men had died. He opened the world's first crime investigation lab in 1910 at Lyons, France.
Locard wrote, "It is impossible for a criminal to act, especially considering the intensity of a crime, without leaving traces of his presence."
Perpetrators bring something to — and take something away from — crime scenes. Things brought to the scene could be finger prints, foot prints, vehicle tire patterns, particles of hair or skin, bodily fluids such as saliva, semen or blood and much more. Contact with the victim makes the killer a magnet for things he takes with him — like blood spatter, hair, dirt, clothing fibers and other evidence common to the scene and the victim.
Investigators' cases are developed and strengthened if they can trace the origin of items found at crime scenes or find traces of the victim on a suspect.
"Physical evidence cannot be wrong; it cannot perjure itself; it cannot be wholly absent," Locard wrote. "Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value."
Knowledge of Locard's Exchange Principal empowers people to assist local police after reading or seeing reports of a crime. An abandoned vehicle in the neighborhood could be a clue, as could seeing a neighbor or someone you know uncharacteristically cleaning his vehicle late at night or at a car wash when he usually cleans it at home. You may see someone throwing items out of a car window or displaying visible signs of blood or evidence he had been in a struggle. An obvious change in a person's mood or unexplained restlessness could be revealing.
The slightest bit of information you offer to investigators could make the difference between a conviction and a cold case.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Susan Roush Case Added

The April 1, 1979 murder of Susan Rae Roush has been added to our list of cold cases. If you have any information about this case, please let us know. Read More

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ohio Has New Cold Case Website

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray today launched a new online resource intended to shine light on missing persons and cold cold cases.

For the complete press release, click here.

A link to the AG's Open Investigations page has been added on our Guest Links feature.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I never dreamed my keyboard would peck out the words "I'm Blogging" - but here I am.
This is the first of what will be many, many posts on the subject of cold case murders, questionable deaths and missing persons in the Ohio Valley. There will be no shortage of fodder to feed the hunger of surviving loved ones searching for justice and some sort of closure; and quench the thirst of curiosity seekers who are enthralled by real life mysteries.
In the coming weeks, many names will be added to the "View Cold Case Files". Entries will include summaries of the cases with information torn from the pages of microfilmed copies of local newspapers. Stories will tell of crime scene findings, along with names and comments from investigators working the cases.
This Blog's mission is to put a face on the victims and give voice to their silenced lips; and to offer hope and ultimately comfort to surviving loved ones and friends. These stories should not be relegated to rolls of film hidden among thousands of others in dusty library drawers.
One truth reigns in all cold cases - somebody out there knows something about this case. Herein lies an opportunity for somebody to come forward with that one slice of information investigators need to complete the puzzle and tranquilize the victims' questionable ability to rest in peace.
Visitors are encouraged to sign on as followers. A huge following will lend credence to this blog and increase its visibility around the web and among law enforcement agencies.
Any information about cold cases not listed or any pictures of victims are surely wanted.