Recipe for solving cold cases

The recent indictment of 64-year- old James Ferrara for a triple homicide in 1974 in Canfield Township has focused renewed attention on solving dozens of unsolved murder cases in the Mahoning Valley from the past few decades.

As Vindicator Staff Writer Joe Gorman reported in a two-day series last week, working to solve cold cases generally proves to be fraught with frustration. The longer the case goes cold, the longer the desperation for law enforcement and the deeper the pain for the victims’ loved ones.

Success in cracking the Ferrara case, as well as several other high-profile cases in the region, provides hope. They also offer multi-pronged strategies toward investigating and solving others:

Law enforcers must exploit to the fullest means possible recent advances in investigative technology — particularly those focused on DNA evidence. They can open doors long thought shut, shedding light on critical crime details.

Police must exercise perseverance and resolve not to let cold cases deep freeze. With budget constraints choking agencies, it’s increasingly up to the initiative of individual officers to use creative time management to investigate leads.

Finally, the public cannot be afraid to offer healthy doses of help, information and due diligence in assisting investigators.

Such cooperation, determination and dedication can go far toward warming up cold cases. It is a strategy that all should embrace.

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