Florida Department of Law Enforcement creates cold case database

One local man’s push to create a statewide database for cold cases is now a reality.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Wednesday it launched an online database featuring more than 400 unsolved homicides.

Action News Jax Lorena Inclan has been covering the story for years. She spoke with Ryan Backmann, the man behind the idea, and how it can help solve more cases.

FDLE is now behind a statewide effort to get millions of eyes on unsolved cases. It was all thanks to the work of Backmann, whose father’s murder also remains unsolved. Now, police departments across the state are submitting cases to be featured on this database.

Backmann, founder of Project: Cold Case, was in Tallahassee on Wednesday when Sen. Aaron Bean announced FDLE's new cold case database.

For him, it’s personal.

“I thought I was preparing myself that they might not catch the person who murdered my dad. I couldn’t prepare myself for the fact they were going to stop looking,” Backmann said.

Action News Jax first told you about Backmann’s push for a statewide database in 2014.

He worked with Bean on legislation to create a cold case task force. A law was never achieved, so he created his own database on projectcoldcase.org.

Today, it features thousands of cases.

The effort inspired FDLE to create a database featuring photos and information about the victims.

“We just wanted to make sure that not only these families but people with information and law enforcement had a portal that they could go to,” Backmann said.

The goal is to ultimately bring families justice, no matter how old a case may be.

“This right here lets them know we never forgot about them. We are still looking for the people who’re held responsible,” Backmann said.

It’s likely that there are many more than 400 unsolved cases in Florida but this is a start. The database ultimately case submission depends on the participation of law enforcement agencies.

Action News Jax is committing to helping solve cold cases, which is why we've partnered up with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Project: Cold Case. Listen to our latest podcast by visiting the Project: Cold Case page.