Want to help solve a murder? Help a family learn what happened to a loved one? Here are some ways you can help, often from your own home. For example, one of our great volunteers lives in Australia and helps us remotely. Note: This list contains examples of help that we (Cold Case Coalition) need, but many would apply to your local nonprofit organization.
What's Opting In? Letting your DNA be used to catch killers. GEDmatch.com pioneered the use of public genealogy sites to compare DNA from violent crime scenes. GEDmatch requires people who upload their DNA to confirm that they're OK with their DNA being compared to crime scene DNA. It only takes a few minutes - upload your DNA to GEDmatch.com and OPT IN!
There are tens of thousands of unidentified bodies in the U.S. On NAMUS.gov, you can compare unidentified bodies with missing persons. You can also alert law enforcement to funding opportunities, such as the Rosie Tapia Identification Project (RTIP) which offers free DNA testing on unidentified bodies in the Intermountain U.S.
Resolving more than 220,000 unsolved homicides and disappearances costs money. For example, it sometimes costs hundreds of dollars just to get a case file (because agencies can charge for locating the file, redacting personal info, etc.). Check a group's 501(c)(3) status before donating - apart from the tax deduction and a 501(c)(3) is not making a profit off of tragedy, and its use of funds is scrutinized and transparent.
It might be spending a few hours on Google. Or researching news stories on Newspapers.com. Or creating a tree on Ancestry. com. Or putting labels on mailers. Or moving a file cabinet. Or monitoring a Facebook page. Or draining a pond. Especially as we come out of the pandemic, the Cold Case Coalition (or your local nonprofit) always needs volunteers.
Good at genealogy/genetic genealogy? The Cold Case Coalition - and probably your local organization - needs volunteer genealogists. How can you help? Especially with our nonprofit DNA lab, volunteers can help identify suspects and bodies. We also spend a lot of time tracking down family members not just of victims, but also of suspects and witnesses.
One important job is to monitor social media for information about specific cases, make posts (with approval), etc. The Cold Case Coalition constantly needs that kind of help, and your local nonprofit may too.
We spend a great deal of time organizing things: case files, witness interviews, court records, etc. We constantly need help (most things can be done from anywhere). Hellllllp!