Document Type

Capstone Project (Campus-Only Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Health, Human Services and Public Policy


Public Health

First Advisor

Diane Marano

Second Advisor

John Fererria


The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office recently implemented a cold case task force in 2020 to address the 600 unsolved homicides and 150 missing persons cases within Monterey County. This initiative is made up of countywide resources and various law enforcement agencies to bring justice to the families of Monterey county impacted by local cold cases. Violent crimes, especially those that remain unsolved, threaten the stability of wellbeing and health in communities, leading to larger public health issues. Employment mobility within the criminal justice system, lack of funding for dedicated cold case personnel, insufficient investigative efforts, and institutional biases all amount to large groves of cases going cold. Volunteering with the cold case task force illuminated the agency's continuous need for local volunteers to sort through DNA hit alerts from CHOP and begin preliminary investigative work. Within the CHOP DNA bank, over 200 DNA hits were addressed and further organized for task force investigators. Addressing those hits did not yet yield a formal investigation as the task force is working through other cases, but it is recommended that this agency continue recruiting a steady stream of volunteers for this project. As this is not a locally funded endeavor, the achieved federal grants do not accommodate financial compensation. Focusing on bringing on volunteers from college campuses, the criminal justice field, and different career paths provides a reinvigorated perspective in the hopes of closing every cold violent crime case in the county.

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