Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Daniel Williams

A Cold Case

With a number of cases to handle, the Newton Division homicide cops originally assigned to investigate Daniel's murder got pulled away. They caught other assignments and other murders. Daniel Williams's case got put on a shelf.

"Usually what happens in a case like this, depending on your case load, you work the leads you have," Baitx says. "If you've got viable leads, you work them. In this case you've got basically no leads. It was down to nothing. Basically what happens, it becomes a cold case."

Sometimes, according to Baitx, a detective will keep a cold case file handy as a reminder. A detective with spare time will open the file and run through the leads again. But in South Central Los Angeles, homicide detectives rarely have spare time. There are just too many bodies.

The designation of Daniel's murder as a cold case didn't sit well with his sister Pauline Bryant back in Georgia.

She wanted Daniel's killer found. For years Daniel's family had known of his lifestyle, but it hadn't diminished their love for him.

One of four children, Daniel had left home at 16 to find himself and to find a place where he fit in. For years he lived in New York, Pauline says. Then he moved to California. "Los Angeles was the place for him," she says.

Then he got killed and the case went cold. Pauline says she felt like the police had stopped looking for her brother's killer, perhaps because of his lifestyle.

"When there were no leads coming in, it was really difficult because it seemed like they had just forgot about it, put it away, and that nothing would ever become of Danny's case," Pauline says. "It made me angry."

As the years passed, Pauline found herself praying that the killer would strike again just so her brother's case might be reopened.

What Pauline Bryant didn't know was that science was on her side and that a technological breakthrough was going to give investigators the lead they needed to catch her brother's killer.





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