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IMPD doesn't track unsolved homicides; number is 'roughly' at 1,000 cases

IMPD's case estimate spans 102 years. The department said it is making changes to improve record-keeping of unsolved homicides.

Cierra Putman (WTHR)

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Published: 10:00 PM EDT August 15, 2023
Updated: 1:48 PM EDT August 16, 2023

Hundreds of families wait years, even decades, for answers after a loved one is killed in Indianapolis and the case goes unsolved. 13 Investigates learned the number of these cases are overwhelming, not one, but two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department units dedicated to solving homicides: the Homicide Unit and Unsolved Homicide Unit.

A month of emails and phone calls between 13 Investigates and the department resulted in IMPD estimating it has about 1,000 unsolved homicides. Some of those cases are part of IMPD’s former Cold Case Unit now called the Unsolved Homicide Unit.

A federal report stated the lack of data about these types of cases is a "crisis." One expert told 13 Investigates knowing how many unsolved homicides are out there allows police and community members to fully understand the scope of the problem so they can take steps to fix it.

“It has to be looked at as a crisis,” said Thomas McAndrew, with Innovative Forensic Investigations in Virginia. “Because often in the United States, until something is recognized as being a crisis, we don't get the adequate attention or funding for it.”

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