Texas State partners with Texas Attorney General’s Office to tackle cold cases


Jayme Blaschke | April 1, 2024

a person filling out paperwork at a desk

Texas State University (TXST) has partnered with the Texas Office of Attorney General (OAG) to create the inaugural TXST Cold Case Team to help investigate unsolved crimes in the state.

The Cold Case Team is a one-year internship program enabling TXST students in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology to work with the OAG Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit (CCMPU). Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton established the CCMPU in 2021 within the Criminal Investigation Division to assist law enforcement agencies across the state with cold case and missing person investigations. As of 2020, there were more than 20,000 unsolved homicides in Texas. 

 “This partnership will connect Texas State students with amazing opportunities to work alongside my office’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Since starting the unit in 2021, I have expanded our resources and expertise to bring justice to heartbroken families who lost their loved ones in cases that went cold.”

A cold case is a case in which all credible investigative leads known to the investigating agency have been exhausted. The case need not be inactive for any fixed period of time so long as local law enforcement agencies have investigated all evidentiary leads to the fullest extent practicable. 

“This new partnership is an exciting opportunity for our students from the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology, as it is the first program of its kind in the State of Texas,” said Jaymi Elsass, Ph.D., internship coordinator in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology. “Through the Office of the Attorney General, TXST Cold Case Team members are being provided with innovative experiential learning as they work to process unsolved homicides in our state, thereby helping investigators with their caseloads as well. 

“While this is the first program of its kind in Texas, similar teams of students exist at other universities around the country and internationally, with some having had success at solving murder cases that have been cold for more than 40 years,” she said. “The potential for students to give back to crime victims and their families in our state by processing unsolved murder cases, while learning firsthand the investigative skills needed to prepare them for a career in this field upon graduation, is the kind of program that Texas State University prides itself on.”

The Cold Case Team will consist of four TXST students reviewing actual unsolved homicide and missing persons cases under the supervision of skilled investigators and prosecutors. Students will work in teams of two and will spend the duration of the course delving into all aspects of these unsolved cold cases to uncover and identify potential new leads. The students will review official information such as police records, witness statements, digital forensic data, autopsy and lab reports, and other case related information. 

The internship is designed for students planning careers in the criminal justice system with strong interest in crime scene investigations, forensic science and digital forensics. All participants will undergo rigorous criminal background checks by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and comply with all state and federal requirements regarding the possession of criminal histories and other important confidential information. 

For more information about the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, visit www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/criminal-justice/cold-case-and-missing-persons-unit

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922