About Us

Who We Are & What We Do


There are an estimated 211,000 unsolved murders in the United States. A national cold case survey conducted by RAND found that only 7 percent of the agencies in their study had a formal cold case unit. Time, money constraints, lack of leads, and new cases can make it difficult to properly attend to cold case investigations. We want to help solve the cases that are not forgotten but that for the reasons mentioned above might have less priority.

We are a group of dedicated people who investigate cold cases. All majors are welcome to join and only students (as opposed to the general public) are permitted to be members. Thus, as a Chatham student, you have a unique and rare opportunity to use your knowledge and analytical skills to investigate real, active unsolved cases. We serve as “fresh eyes” and “fresh brains” on the case.

Before becoming involved in any investigation of a case, every student signs a strict confidentiality agreement. We take confidentiality very seriously.

We work with two primary organizations: The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) and the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI).

AISOCC is an “elite” organization of professional investigators whose sole mission is to “actively assist law enforcement, criminal justice and legal professionals in the development of cold case investigations…” They offer professional, free, non-biased review of cold cases brought by law enforcement.

CCIRI is located in Atlanta, Georgia. It began in 2005 and now involves over 20 educational institutions. CCIRI collaborates with national criminal justice experts in forensics, mental health, and law, to solve cold cases.

The CCIRI collaboration brings together researchers, practitioners, students and the criminal justice community to develop new capabilities and work collectively to advance research, training and techniques in cold case investigation. Some of their high profile crimes that they have investigated include: The Zodiac Murders, Natalee Holloway, Chandra Levy, Amber Hagerman, Boston Strangler, Moore’s Ford Bridge Lynching, the Wayne Williams Atlanta Child Murders case, the abduction of Carl Ripen Jr.’s mother Vi Ripkin, and most recently, Natalie Wood.

We investigated several cases over the course of the 2017-2017 academic school year. Most recently, through our investigative research on a missing persons case based in North Carolina, we have uncovered new information that has been turned over to law enforcement. The students were very excited to have uncovered information that may have generated movement in this case. As you can see, by being a member of our cold case group, there is a real opportunity to aid in solving a case.

If you would like more information or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call 412-365-2957 or contact us here.

Chatham Cold Case Group (mailing address)
Chatham University
Woodland Road, 223 Coolidge Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15232