Many of you have been asking about our recent effort to track down Cleveland’s possible serial killers, wanting to know why so many murders have gone unsolved and what can be done about them.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Department confirmed that they are now looking at the cases we pointed out, using the same data we produced, and promised to make the public aware of any killer or killers if the hard proof was ever found.
A Channel 3 News investigation recently looked at 61 unsolved murders involving women dating back to 2004 and separated cases where victims were stabbed, strangled or shot at close range.
The data was then shared with Tom Hargrove, a self-described “homicide archivist” with the not-for-profit Murder Accountability Project in Washington, DC.
Hargrove ran the data through a computer algorithm and discovered as many as 27 of the cases could be connected and possibly even be the work of a serial killer or killers.
But catching them may not come easy.
Last year, the Plain Dealer’s Rachel Dissell discovered there may be an issue within the Cleveland Police Department, where she found there are 13 homicide detectives in the unit. They handled 136 cases last year.
Eric Witzig, a retired Washington, DC homicide detective who worked for the FBI, suggested detectives should work no more than four cases at a time.
“Resources for clearing homicides need to be increased,” he said.
Yet on Thursday, a retired homicide detective from Philadelphia offered a different perspective.
Speaking on the condition his name not be used, he said that murders do not always have to fall on one detective, but rather, can be shared with a fugitive task force, the FBI, or the U.S. Marshals Service.
Last year, Cleveland Police formed a homicide review task force to better allow for such collaboration.