First Advisor

McGrath, Jack

Thesis Committee Member(s)

McGrath, Jack


College for Professional Studies

Degree Name

MS Criminology


School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

37 pages


The killing of one individual by another is something in our culture that garners a lot of attention from the media as well as community leaders. Law enforcement agencies have a duty to find resolution to these crimes. Yet, even with the rapid growth of forensics and the technology associated with it, there are still cases that go unsolved. These cases are commonly referred to as cold case homicides. In order to evaluate whether forensic evidence or investigative technique plays a larger role in the clearance of cold case homicides, a retrospective study was conducted to examine previously solved cold case homicides to reveal what factors lead to their clearance. This study explored the role of forensics in closing cold case homicides as the culture around homicide has changed in recent years. A qualitative case-study analysis was utilized to examine the research questions: (a) what role does forensic evidence play versus investigative technique in the clearance of cold case homicides, and (b) is clearance by forensic evidence or investigative technique affected by the method of death? The criminological theory of Moral Disengagement Theory was utilized to explain why an individual would take another's life, as well as the increase in homicide cases turning cold. The examination identified four themes that were used to answer the two research questions that were proposed.

Date of Award

Summer 2012

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

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