cold case
October 28, 2020

President Trump flew into Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night to hold a rally in the state's 2nd Congressional District, which has its own single Electoral College vote and also abuts western Iowa, a state where he is essentially tied with Democrat Joe Biden. Trump spoke for about 47 minutes at Eppley Airfield. "A reporter estimated that more than 6,000 people attended the rally," the Omaha World-Herald reports. "Law enforcement and campaign sources estimated the crowd above 10,000. Trump said the crowd was 29,000."

Trump's speech went fine. The aftermath, not so much.

Fox News correspondent Jeff Paul posted some video from 90 minutes after the rally ended, pegging the temperature outside at about 32 degrees, freezing.

"The event itself seemed poorly planned from the beginning," Paige Godden reports at Iowa Starting Line. The parking lots were full, the shuttle buses for the 3.5-mile ride to the rally venue intermittent, and the lines long everywhere. People were still waiting to get in even after Trump started speaking, Godden writes. "Some started shouting for the line to move faster, and some began saying they needed to use the restroom and threatened to relieve themselves while waiting in line." Read more at Iowa Starting Line. Peter Weber

May 14, 2018

Okay, maybe not you, but researchers think sweat could be the new frontier in forensic analysis.

Sweat is an effective way to identify and differentiate suspects who leave their mark at a crime scene, research published in Analytical Chemistry found.

Used in tandem with traditional fingerprint methods that help track down and match individuals, sweat could reveal even more details about a suspect that would help create a more specific profile, reports The Verge. People are always producing sweat, said one researcher, so it would be easier to find a sweat sample than a full and identifiable fingerprint.

The chemicals in sweat can reveal a lot about a person, like health conditions, gender, and age — invaluable information to forensic analysts. The problem is, sweat is always changing, and the chemical makeup varies depending on a person's current state. That's why researchers think it could be an important part of a "forensic toolbox," analyzed along with other samples. However, the constant flux also means that sweat samples would be much more difficult to fake than fingerprints, because the chemical patterns are unique to each person but extremely tough to replicate. Read more at The Verge. Summer Meza

August 6, 2015

This cold case hit all the right notes.

More than three decades ago, in May 1980, violin virtuoso Roman Totenberg's Ames Stradivarius violin was stolen from his office at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The antique instrument, which was made in 1734, was valued at $250,000 at the time, and would likely sell for millions of dollars today.

The violin's disappearance was a "crushing loss" for Totenberg, who called the violin his "musical partner of 38 years," according to NPR's Nina Totenberg, who is his daughter. Though Totenberg dreamed of opening his case and finding his Stradivarius there, he unfortunately never got the chance to see his beloved instrument again before his death in 2012. But at last, the Ames Stradivarius has finally been found, and is being restored and returned to the Totenberg family.

The New York Times has more on the discovery:

Stolen Stradivarius violins are hard to sell because they are so recognizable. This one turned up, Ms. Totenberg said, after a California woman met with an appraiser in New York in June with a violin she said she had inherited from her late ex-husband.

"The appraiser looks at her and says, 'Well, I have some good news and some bad news,'" Ms. Totenberg said. "'The good news is that this is a real Stradivarius. And the bad news is it was stolen, 35, 36 years ago from Roman Totenberg, and I have to report it right away.' And within two hours, two agents from the F.B.I. art theft team were there." [The New York Times]

After the violin is restored, Nina Totenberg says her family plans to sell the Strad so that a musician can make use of the legendary instrument once again. "We're going to make sure that it's in the hands of another great artist who will play it in concert halls all over the world," Totenberg told the Times. "All of us feel very strongly that the voice has been stilled for too long."

Read or listen to Totenberg's full story at NPR. Samantha Rollins

January 28, 2015

Though violent crime has been trending down for years, there's one crime statistic that isn't so positive: In 1965, 90 percent of murder cases were resolved by police, but today, one out of every three murders sees no arrests. As a result, there's a national backlog of more than 200,000 unsolved murders that have accumulated since 1980.

In some cities, the situation is grimmer still. In New Orleans, for example, only 15 percent of murder cases were resolved in 2012. In Detroit, that figure was just 9 percent.

Some police officers have suggested that the disproportionate diversion of department resources to drug war programs has limited officers' ability to give violent crime the attention it deserves. Bonnie Kristian

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