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Long term missing people cases remain some of the hardest to resolve. Resolving a case can depend on the quality of the initial missing people investigation.  Val Nettles son Damien went missing over 23 years ago on the Isle of Wight. Val is clear that ‘mistakes in the early days of an investigation impact the entire case and result in too many long-term cases remaining unsolved.’

“It is extremely important for the families of missing people that the police are seen to be taking the case seriously. The family is bound by their duty to do everything they can to find the missing person…” Living in Limbo: The experiences of, and impacts on, the families of missing people. Holmes, L. Missing People.

Police, too, are under an enormous pressure both internally (within their respective  departments) and externally (from families of victims and media pressures). The police have limited capacity to ensure all unsolved cases are reviewed effectively. We need new and innovative ways to support families and friends of missing people and the police service.

There are outstanding examples already in action in other parts of the world. The Cold Research Institute in America was developed by Sheryl McCollum. The Institute is composed of over 600 experts and 5,000 student volunteers from colleges and universities across America. Detective Cormier has successfully organised and developed the Rhode Island Cold Case Task Force, a cutting-edge group that meets every two weeks to discuss cold cases and provide new leads or perspectives for investigations. The task force actively seeks and involves experts in the field who may be able to help, having them present and consult with investigators on their cases.

We have adapted these approaches for unsolved missing people cases.

We bring former detectives together with the public to apply their talents and help investigate and review unsolved cases at no cost to families. Our team have experienced major crime review officers, investigators, data analysis and open source intelligence expertise. We are able to review cases independently to ensure all that can reasonably be done in an investigation is being done.

Not all missing people cases have an advocate. The UK NCA Missing Person Unit maintain a website to publicise information about unidentified people and remains, enlisting the public to help maximise the chances of identification. There are nearly 1,000 unidentified bodies or body parts. At Locate we help to identify these people through our network of specialist volunteers and dedicated investigators.

We provide a resource for families, the general public, agencies and the police service. We provide a focal point for families to help understand the processes of missing people investigation, particularly if they remain unsolved for extended periods. We help communicate with the police service and ensure that account  information is exchanged.

If you have a case that you need reviewed or assistance with, please contact us via email with a brief outline of the case.

The National Cold Case Analysis Project combines people and resources from universities and communities across the UK . Teams help ensure every missing or unidentified persons cold case receives the highest quality investigation at no cost.  

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The International Cold Case Analysis Project brings university students and forensic & investigative specialists together to help advance cold cases. Cold cases are a global issue & we provide a cross-border solution through international collaboration.

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The Locate Challenge Lab connects people, ideas and resources to solve real-world problems. Be part of a globally diverse team and use your skills and experience evolve ideas that make the world a safer place. Interested in getting involved or supporting our work?

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We provide our volunteers with a comprehensive, modular training programme to equip them with the skills, attributes & experience necessary to undertake cold case review and investigation and a range of research based work, advocacy and ideas development. 

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