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True crime shows that solved cold cases

Lynsie Ekelund in her graduation gown
Image: The murder of 19-year-old Lynsie Ekelund is solved in an episode of 'The Real Murders of Orange County' | The Real Murders of Orange County

Diana Safieh co-hosts a true crime podcast with her sister Randa. Check out the Switchblade Sisters Social Club, a podcast where two sisters exploit their worst fears, for your entertainment. In this guest article, Diana looks at some true crime episodes that focus on solving cold cases.

Whether it’s because of DNA advancement, genealogical testing or a witness who finally comes forward, it’s thrilling when a cold case is finally solved. If you agree, Crime + Investigation Play has loads of cold cases to keep you going. Of course, Cold Case Files can keep you busy for a while, but if justice is your bag, here are some other episodes that might tickle your fancy.

Motive to Murder (Season 1, Episode 23 - Bus Stop Killer)

To be honest, I started watching this episode because I thought it was about my local serial killer Levi Bellfield, but was actually about the 1991 murder of troubled teen Jessica Lyn Keen. It was only 17 years later, with the launch of the CODIS DNA database, that there was finally movement on this case.

Cold Case Files: The Rifkin Murders

This two-parter, about the most prolific serial killer in New York State, is a bit of a twist on the typical cold case. We know who the perpetrator is, but there are two victims (out of 17) that are yet to be unidentified. Follow police and watch interviews with Rifkin himself as they try to put names to Victim 6 and Victim 9.

The Real Murders of Orange County (Season 3, Episode 4 - Lethal Lies)

19-year-old Lynsie Ekelund disappeared in 2001. Was it her ex-boyfriend or the weird creepy old dude who she seemed to inexplicably be friends with? This case went cold for nine years until someone confessed.

Interrogation Raw (Season 2, Episode 5 - Murdered Amongst Friends)

25-year-old Timothy Smart disappeared and police always suspected his friends knew more than they let on. 22 years later, a body was eventually located, bringing media attention back onto this cold case and finally instigating some movement.

On the Case with Paula Zahn (Season 10 Episode 4 - Twisted Justice)

Elaine Fogle’s 1978 murder was cold for 37 years. Found covered in blood by her roommate, no one was ever arrested for this brutal attack. Find out how decades later, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) helped track down the killer after so much time.

Somebody’s Hiding Something (Season 1 Episode 1 - Till Death Do Us Part)

This is the first episode in what might be my next binge series. Janice Hartman’s husband reported her missing after leaving a bar in 1974. It wasn’t until 1980 that her body was found and not until 2000 that it was identified. It was only in the decades that followed, when there was a similar disappearance, that there were clues as to who might be responsible for Janice’s murder.

The suspense of uncovering long-buried truths is a thrilling experience. Why do we love it so much when cold cases are solved? Well, it’s a relief seeing justice finally being obtained; that no matter how terrible the world can be, the bad guy always gets punished. Most importantly, it’s heartening to see the families finally get closure.