Book details
Lyons Press
Page count:
9.44 in x 6.39 in

Cold Case Chronicles

Mysteries, Murders & The Missing

Silvia Pettem

About this book

COLD CASE CHRONICLES tells the stories of victims –– some missing, some murdered and some with changed identities. All are true, and each are mysterious in their own ways. The cases in this nonfiction narrative date from 1910 through the 1950s and include evolutions in forensics, as well as historical context in order to view the men, women and children through the lens of time.

Included are recent theories on the cases of Judge Joseph Crater (missing from New York City in 1930) and film director William Desmond Taylor (shot in Hollywood in 1922). Other chapters help to unravel the mystique of individuals with changed identities. Included, too, is a case of aerial sabotage, the "Boy in the Box," and unusual disappearances of young women, along with child abductions and four missing adventurers –– Everett Ruess, Joseph Halpern, and Glen and Bessie Hyde. Readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions, consider how detectives would handle these and other cases today, and learn how genetic genealogy brings new hope for the future.

About this author

Silvia Pettem (www.silviapettem.com) is a longtime historical researcher, newspaper columnist, and author of more than twenty books. After decades of work for individuals and governments, her life took a new turn in 1996, when she stumbled upon the gravestone of a Jane Doe –– a murder victim from 1954. Pettem then applied her research skills to both old-fashioned detective work and the power of the internet by entering into a partnership with her local sheriff and with forensic experts of the Vidocq Society to successfully determine the young woman's identity. Pettem chronicled their work in Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe.

In 2008, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office gave Pettem a Sheriff's Commendation Award for doing the "lion's share of the research" on the Jane Doe case. Then, in 2010, the Vidocq Society presented her with its Medal of Honor and made her an associate member. In addition, Pettem became a longtime volunteer in the Detectives Section of the Boulder Police Department and is a recent recipient of the City of Boulder's Lifetime Achievement Award. She also is a NamUs instructor in classes sponsored by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation –– expanding her expertise and working with colleagues all over the country.