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14 Crime Media Culture 3 (2018)

handle is hein.journals/cmctre14 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                                                           Crime Media Culture
                                                                           2018, Vol. 14(1) 3-22
Exploring        the    relationship          between                     0 The Author(s) 2016
                                                                        Reprints and permissions:
cold    case     homicide survivors and                        sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
                           . DOl: 10. 1177/1741659016663008
the    media                                                       journals.sagepub.com/home/cmc

Ashley   RP Wellman
University of Central Missouri, USA

After a homicide, survivors are thrust into relationships with a myriad of professionals. For cold
case homicide  survivors, these relationships are likely to develop into long-term, persistent
interactions. Interviews from 24 cold case homicide survivors in the United States reveal that media
professionals are often the source of additional trauma, and yet, most survivors expressed a need
for continued communication and continued coverage of their case. Utilizing social constructivist
grounded  theory for data collection and analysis, common themes emerging from the survivors'
stories include inadequate coverage of the case, inaccurate portrayal of victim or information,
negative reactions to the media, and positive experiences and desire for long-term coverage.
Implications and recommendations for survivors and media professionals are detailed within.

Cold case, grief, homicide survivors, media, victimology

In 2013, 14,196 reported homicides occurred in the United States (USDOJ, 2014). That year, 35.9
percent of cases were left unsolved (USDOJ, 2014), increasing the risk the case will be classified as
a cold case homicide. Each homicide leaves behind at least four survivors (Murphy, 1997). With a
clearance rate of approximately 36 percent, in 2014 more than 20,000 family members grieved
the unsolved murder of a loved one.
   Scholars and practitioners do not agree on the definition of a cold case homicide. The current
study is guided by Walton's (2006) definition which classifies a case as 'cold' when 1) the original
detective is no longer working the case, 2) there is no new information or promising leads, and 3)
the case is at least a year old with no activity. With each unsolved homicide the surviving family
members  are left to cope with the aftermath, becoming a unique class of victims known as cold

Corresponding author:
Ashley RP Wellman, University of Central Missouri, 300 Humphreys, Warrensburg, MO 64093, USA.
Email: awellman@ucmo.edu

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