Appearing on Shattered Lives Radio in October, 2014, Sheryl McCollum shared information about the levels of expertise used when students investigate cold cases under her direction. Colleges across the country combine to utilize the talents of experts in all fields of investigative research to shed new light on cases which have not been active.
Sheryl indicated several new things were coming down the pipeline that she could not talk about at the time. NOW is the time and she will be making some breaking announcements on this week’s Shattered Lives Radio.
Combining the forces of law enforcement, well-known forensic experts, and college students the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI) has investigated several high-profile crimes including Natalee Holloway, Chanda Levy, The Boston Strangler, and Tupac Shakur.
Founded by Sheryl McCollum 10 years ago, the CCIRI is a partnership that brings together researchers, practitioners, and the criminal justice community to develop new capabilities and work collectively to advance research, training and techniques in solving cold cases. The objectives of CCIRI are to provide the means, resources and guidance for Criminal Justice students to determine the solvability of actual unsolved crimes.
Students are connected with experts in all fields of criminal investigation and participation with the institute is on a volunteer basis with no pay, and no education credits, however, it gives students an advantage when landing internships and, eventually, full-time jobs. Some students have been hired by the very experts they worked with during the program.
“Everything is done on a volunteer basis and we do not charge the families of the victims,” she said. “The students participate for the hands-on, practical experience of learning how to work a cold case and it’s really become a remarkable, academic experience that continues to provide help and hope for grieving families.” (Neighbor Newspapers – Seasons Bistro event to help solve cold case crimes)
One of the upcoming cases to be investigated by CCIRI and its students is 23-year-old Chanda Turner who was found shot to death in July of 2000 outside her home in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Her death originally ruled a suicide, her parents, Donna and Joe Turner, were determined to prove this ruling was wrong. Using several outside expert sources the Turners exhumed their daughter’s body for further examination, yet it took 12 more years to have the cause of death changed from suicide to “unknown.” Students and experts will study this case to expose further evidence that may lead investigators to pursue justice for Chanda Turner.
Sheryl McCollum has been a frequent guest on Nancy Grace and is a regular instructor at the annual CUE Center for Missing Persons national conference in Wilmington, NC.