Forgotten Whispers


by Sheruni Boteju

What is a cold case? Better known to non-crime story fanatics as an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open awaiting the discovery of new evidence; and they can vary from an unsolved burglary to an unsolved assault charge. However, I would like to direct your attention towards the grimmer side of the spectrum which is the unsolved homicide investigations.

The line between unsolved murders and missing person’s cases tend to coincide as well for the fact that the chances of which the solution of one unsolved murder investigation could be found in an unsolved missing person’s report and vice versa, but tend to seldom be linked due to the lack of evidence. Many unsolved homicide cases involve the death of an unidentified body who could be a stranger of a community or someone who doesn’t match any missing person’s reports or it could be someone who has been slaughtered beyond recognition.

An unidentified homicide victim will create quite the disturbance among the public, as whispers will sweep across the community because everyone will be trying to figure out who could have done such a thing in their community and what the victim had done to meet such a gruesome end.

However, slowly but surely things will go back to normal as the authorities will slowly run out of leads. For when there is no identification of who this victim was, it leads to no motives or suspects. Finally, having them buried in an unmarked grave, adding their case to a pile of cold cases knowing that it will be left to collect dust for eternity.

The most miserable aspect about this is knowing that they don’t have anyone fighting for them, for either their families have no idea they are dead and think that they have just fallen out of touch with them or mainly because many unidentified bodies are thought out to be runaways and orphans who have no one to search for them.

The best example is the infamous case of the serial killer Ted Bundy who was convicted for killing 30 women and where the police were only able to identify 10 of them leaving behind the other unfortunate lost souls to never come to rest. Bundy yet remains a suspect in several unsolved homicides, and is likely responsible for others that may never be identified, as once he admitted that there are some murders that he would never talk about because they were committed too close to home, or involved victims who were too young. In general, people assume Bundy is responsible for a little over 100 homicides that will never be identified or solved. [1]

It is depressing but no one takes responsibility to find justice for these unidentified souls as with time more pressing matters come to the forefront and the latter ones are left on the back burner. There have been many older unsolved homicide cases that cease to exist in the eyes of the law because the documents have now been destroyed due to lack of storage space in the respective departments or being destroyed due to accidental fires.

In the end, the existence of these unfortunate souls will be nothing more than a myth of the community, whispers and scary tales told to children to be wary of strangers, and with time, their existence will slowly disintegrate into history and our only hope is to make sure that death does not decide to greet us in such a gruesome and depressing manner.

To not become another Forgotten Whisper…