• Cold Case Program student in the field with Michigan State Police
  • Janis Sanders with James Sanders

    WMU cold case team helps search for remains of woman missing nearly 50 years

  • cold case program students interviewing with the Today Show

    Students crack cold cases for college credit

    The program allows students to sift through boxes of evidence to help the state crack cases that have gone cold for decades without answers – and they have already helped MSP solve a murder from 1987!

  • Cold Case Program students at the Capitol in Lansing

    Join the team

    Applications for the Spring 2024 semester have now closed, check back in January 2024 for applications for the Summer and Fall 2024 semesters.

  • Cold Case Program team work on case
  • Cold Case Program students standing in front of police car

An immersive program

The WMU Cold Case Program with Michigan State Police is an immersive experience that equips students with some of the essential skills required for careers in law and law enforcement. Students who are accepted onto the team receive training in forensic science, law, and criminal investigation tactics. Then they work alongside police detectives to review cold homicide and missing person cases, offer fresh perspectives and assistance in developing new interviews, determining the feasibility of DNA testing, and assisting detectives in conducting research that supports their investigations. As part of this collaborative process, students gain hands-on investigative experience and a deeper understanding of the workings of the criminal justice system.

  • Being a part of the Cold Case Program has been life-changing. It has given me the opportunity to develop my investigative and leadership skills while making professional connections in the field. I feel confident and prepared to step into a career in criminal justice having gained real-world, hands-on experience working with the program.

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As part of the Cold Case Program with Michigan State Police, student investigators gain countless skills by performing tasks such as:

Assembling tips, lab reports, photographs, police reports, and more into a timeline. Hours of work are dedicated to reading over a decades-old case.

Digitizing written on gold background

Scanning thousands of documents into a workable, searchable format. This format allows for easy searches and an accessible file for the investigators.

Analyzing written on gold background

Creating indexes, maps, timelines, and family trees in order to discover new tips leads to assist the detectives in their investigation.

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PLEASE NOTE:  Deciding which cold cases in Michigan to reopen/reinvestigate is a complicated decision-making process involving the type of physical evidence that is available and still testable, which witnesses are still available for interviews and whether weapons or property was retrieved at the time of murder.  The Cold Case Program with the Michigan State Police does not choose which cases will be reopened for further investigation. Please contact the Michigan State Police at (269) 657-5551 for further information.