Enabling a community of true crime enthusiasts to make a difference

Published 2023-04-20
Founder and CEO of Uncovered

Thanks to podcasts like Serial, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and the weekly dose of NBC’s Dateline, the true crime genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with millions captivated by unsolved mysteries and cold cases.

But why are people drawn to the stories of horrible things happening to others? The answer is multifaceted. Humans are naturally curious, driven by fear and adrenaline, but also longing for empathy and emotional connection.

Many true crime shows present cases as puzzles to be solved, further stoking our desire to find closure. And, with over 250,000 real cases having gone cold since 1980 – where either a murder took place, or a missing person was considered to have experienced serious bodily harm – there’s no shortage of opportunity.

Uncovered is an online community of citizen detectives that aims to harness the power of collective impact to help solve cold cases. Our platform facilitates the exchange of information, crowdsourcing of expertise, and generating new leads that contribute to resolving unsolved mysteries. In just the past year, our community has solved its first case and petitioned a judge to allow the exhumation of a 62-year-old cold case victim.

At the heart of Uncovered is the desire to restore the voice of each victim, who too often are overshadowed by the notoriety of their assailants. We believe every life is valuable, and our platform focuses on each victim’s individuality, personality, and whole life experience. By connecting the dots between publicly available information and crowdsourced investigations, we can help bring justice to those who have been silenced.

Recent breakthroughs in technology, DNA analysis, public policy, and victim advocacy have paved the way for communities to play a pivotal role in solving cold cases. With more individuals submitting their DNA to public databases and amateur genealogists constructing family trees, the potential for groundbreaking discoveries has never been higher.

Built on the foundation of being self-sustaining, Uncovered allows members to connect, share knowledge, learn techniques, and contribute to case-solving efforts. Our platform enables users to subscribe to cases that pique their interest, submit research through a verification process, and remain informed on new developments.

The efficacy of online communities in solving cold cases is evident in real-life examples such as the Bear Brook murders, Tara Grinstead case, the Golden State Killer case, and the notorious Netflix documentary, “Don’t F*** with Cats.” These instances showcase the immense potential of collaborative endeavors in unearthing the truth and delivering justice to victims and their families.

However, numerous cold cases remain unsolved due to media bias, law enforcement bias, and even our own personal bias. Uncovered aims to bridge these gaps by collaborating with policymakers and advocating for criminal justice reform. For example, we partnered with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on The Homicide Victim’s Families Rights Act (HR 3359), which grants homicide victims’ families the right to request a case review under specific conditions.

Uncovered does not endorse vigilantism. Instead, we champion responsible true crime consumption and urge our members to prioritize accuracy and ethics, engage with advocacy organizations, share responsibly, and contemplate their motivations for participating in our community.

As true crime enthusiasts, we can transcend mere entertainment and actively advocate for justice. By joining online communities like Uncovered, we can harness the power of collective impact to solve cold cases, amplify victims’ voices, and transform lives affected by these tragedies.

Together, we can illuminate forgotten stories, advocate for the voiceless, and ensure every victim’s life is honored and remembered. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It’s time to unite and embark on this journey towards justice, overcoming insurmountable obstacles and making a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by cold cases.

Ultimately, the enduring cases that have haunted communities for years are no match for the power of online crime-solving resources. Clearly, groups of people, strangers united by a desire for justice, are revolutionizing cold-case investigations.

So, what’s next? As we progress as a society, it’s crucial to remain receptive to new technology and advancements. We must cultivate a culture that values collaboration, transparency, and information-sharing.

Because when it comes to unsolved crimes, one small detail can make all the difference. It’s not just about the internet – it’s about the people-powered movement driving it. It’s about the unwavering passion of those committed to uncovering the truth, no matter how long it takes. By working together, we can turn the tide on cold cases and bring the much-needed closure to victims, their families, and communities alike. Join the Uncovered community to help.

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