My biggest dream is to become a private detective and wear a raincoat and a hat, but life often reminds us of its sad reality and we have to come to terms with it: I can’t even find my keys when I lost, so how the hell could I find a killer? But just because I’m a good-for-nothing sucker doesn’t mean everyone else is, that’s why people like you and me (well, not me) have already solved crimes on the internet. Here are some examples of amateur sleuths tearing it all apart.
1. The Jessica Currin case: a resident and a journalist find the murderer
In 2000 a young woman from Kentucky is the victim of a rape followed by a murder, leaving the police on the floor to find her killer. But a resident of the town decided to contact a BBC journalist and conduct her own investigation by interviewing the neighborhood and collecting evidence. Some time later they unearthed a key witness who identified a man the amateur investigators had their suspicions on and the investigation was finally closed.
2. The Steven Davis case: the mother of the victim who leads her investigation
Steven Davis was an uneventful man killed in his home by three people in the Philippines in 2002. His mother refused to believe it was a burglary gone wrong and decided to investigate, knowing that she suspected his son’s wife knew a little more than she let on about the murder. After gathering enough information, she hired a private investigator to complete the investigation and he discovered that the woman had a lover and that he was one of the three killers. They were all arrested as well as the wife who had withheld information.
3. Carl Koppelman: the cartoonist who identified a victim
This Los Angeles cartoonist who worked with the police on certain occasions to make portraits of the victims based on their bodies has achieved a master stroke based on simple bones. Not convinced that he was going to succeed in finding the true appearance of an ancient victim just with his skeleton, he still managed to stick as closely as possible to reality because it was thanks to his drawing that we identified the victim. Quite the opposite of the worst robot portraits in history this guy.
4. Abraham Shakespeare: The body of the lottery winner found thanks to members of a forum
Three years after winning $30 million in the lottery, Abraham Shakespeare has mysteriously disappeared, leaving his family to ask anyone for help. And it’s a bunch of people on a forum who picked up on the case after seeing a strange internet user commenting on the case with quite a few details hitherto unknown to the general public. They traced his IP address and realized it led to the home of the victim’s boyfriend who had buried the body under his new deck.
5. Ellen Leach: The Found Skull
After the discovery of a human skull hidden in cement, the police investigation did not go very far, but it was without counting on Ellen Leach. It was she who helped link the skull and the reconstruction of a potential face to the photo of Gregory May, a man who has been missing for some time. Thanks to his contribution, we were able to go back to the former roommate of the victim who had killed him to recover his money.
6. Klu Klux Klan Crimes Solved 40 Years Later
Two young Americans had been killed in 1964 by members of the Klu Klux Klan before the police dropped the case. But in 2004, a documentary filmmaker agreed to help the brother of one of the victims dive back into the investigation to obtain a confession from one of the suspects at the time. They managed to put him face to face with the evidence and have the police reopen the investigation until the culprits were arrested.
7. The victim and the blogger who find a rapist and murderer
Jared Scheierl had been abused as a child, but the police never found the culprit. He teamed up with a blogger and began investigating the area to consolidate similar complaints until police agreed to reopen the investigation. Not only did we find the culprit who had abused several children, but we also had his confession to the murder of an 11-year-old child that has so far remained unsolved.
8. The writer who solved the 50-year-old crime
An author who wrote books based on true crimes decided to conduct an investigation with the aim of making a book about the murder of Doctor Helen Davidson which occurred in the 1960s. she placed her suspicions on the gardener at the time whom the victim allegedly caught having sex with another man when homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain at the time. The gardener committed suicide five years after the murder and remains today the most likely suspect in the case, but no one had found the motive before the author.
9. The man who used surveillance footage to track down a killer
When he learned that a student of his brother had disappeared, Yaakov German decided to conduct his investigation in New York by retracing the journey of the little girl from school to home. Using the surveillance footage he managed to discover that the little girl had taken a different route home on the day of the disappearance and that she had met a stranger before following him. The police used this beginning of the investigation to trace the killer of the little girl and arrest him.
10. The best friend of a victim who becomes a private investigator
When her friend was attacked and killed at the age of twenty, Sheila Wysocki decided to find her killer at all costs. After spending almost twenty years convincing the police to relaunch the investigation, she searched for similar crimes in the area and even earned private detective tenure to gain access to classified information. Thanks to the leads they had found, the police reopened the investigation and a DNA test made it possible to identify the culprit.