3 Sessions for Cold Case Collectors

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As a true crime enthusiast, there’s nothing more heart-wrenching than a cold case. The denial of justice for the perpetrators and cruel lack of closure for grieving families is brutal. I believe that our interest in true crime partially stems from the empathy we feel for these families; we all want to solve a case and help victims, survivors, and loved ones heal. If you’re glued to Cold Justice or Cold Case Files, these are the CrimeCon 2018 sessions you won’t want to miss.

During his time with the Bronx Cold Case Homicide Unit, Joe Giacalone conducted and supervised hundreds of investigations into unsolved murders and missing persons cases. Safe to say he knows a thing or two about how to crack cold cases. 

“Cases remain open for a reason,” Giacalone says. “Something happened along the way to derail the investigation. It could have been a human error or overlooked evidence. Or maybe the technology to analyze some piece of evidence didn’t exist at the time the crime occurred.”

It’s a sad reality that many cold cases will remain unsolved indefinitely. Giacalone has made a career out of identifying which ones can be solved–a skill he will share with attendees during his session at this year’s CrimeCon.

“I’ll break down the solvability factors that we use to select which cold cases to pursue. Those factors could be anything from how thorough the case files are, our ability to interact with the family or key players in the case, and what evidence is available and can be tested with new technology. Many people ask why investigators don’t direct resources to certain cases, and this session will help explain why.”

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of a cold case investigation and learn how cases are chosen, what makes a case solvable, and how new interpretation of evidence can break open a case. This is a must-see for forensic enthusiasts and cold case buffs alike.

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From 1986 to 1989, four young couples were killed in a series of lover's lane slayings near scenic Williamsburg, Virginia that came to be called the Colonial Parkway Murders. Their killer has not yet been identified or brought to justice. 

If you attended the Golden State Killer panel at CrimeCon 2017, you’ll likely remember how the air seemed to be sucked out of the room when the killer’s fifth victim, Jane Carson-Sandler, took the stage. It’s always poignant and humbling when survivors and loved ones of victims share their stories, and we’re honored to be joined by Joyce Call Canada and Bill Thomas for this session. Joyce’s brother Keith and Bill’s sister Cathleen were both killed by the Colonial Parkway killer. For thirty years, both have been searching for answers and advocating for victims across the country. 

For 25 years, Maureen O’Connell was a Special Agent with the FBI specializing in forensics, gangs, and cartel-level narcotics. She served on the FBI’s Evidence Response Team and investigated hundreds of bombings, murders, missing persons, kidnappings and acts of terrorism. Her family tree boasts a long history of public service with law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel dating back almost 100 years. 

Blaine Pardoe is an award-winning New York Times Bestselling author of true crime, science fiction, business management and military history books. Recently, he collaborated with his daughter to publish A Special Kind of Evil, about the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Rarely do we see a panel discussion bursting with this kind of expertise. Bill and Joyce have lived through the firsthand horror brought on by this heinous killer. O’Connell and Pardoe have spent years immersed in his madness. 

Three words: bring the tissues.

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If you’re drawn to cold cases, especially missing persons, it’s likely that I don’t need to introduce Maura Murray to you at all. But just in case… Maura’s 2004 disappearance from Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire following a single-car accident has baffled law enforcement agencies and armchair detectives for fourteen years. With scant evidence to go on, several disparate schools of thought have emerged with varying theories about her fate. Maura’s case was recently featured in a compelling Oxygen docuseries featuring journalist Maggie Freleng and investigator Art Roderick.

Crawlspace Podcast hosts Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna will debut their long-awaited documentary Finding Maura Murray at CrimeCon 2018. The documentary explores the obsession and societal impact surrounding Maura's disappearance, which has resonated powerfully and continues to impact the lives of people all over the world.

Maggie Freleng, James Renner, Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna will also host a discussion panel alongside this screening (which takes place on what would be Maura's 36th birthday). They'll discuss their experience with the case and any updates that came out of their participation in Oxygen's docuseries The Disappearance of Maura Murray. Despite my best efforts to catch an early glimpse of the documentary, I know as much as you do, and I know exactly where I’ll be at 7:15 pm on Friday, May 4.