Crime Solvers Help Police Make Their Case


The Vidocq Society chooses its cases carefully, working with local police to solve crimes. All the members' work is done for free, and the group accepts donations to help pay for investigations.

The best way to contact the group is through its Web site, www.vidocq.org.

FBI statistics suggest that only 70% of murder cases are solved. At Vidocq, experts such as forensic sculptor Frank Bender, renowned for eerily accurate reconstruction of murder victims' faces from their skulls, and Richard Walter, an internationally acclaimed forensic psychologist whose "profiles" of criminals are based on 22,000 felon interviews, tackle some of the thorniest of these cases.

Cases now under investigation by Vidocq Society members include the 1996 stabbing death of a Tennessee mother and the 1992 bludgeoning death of a Kentucky farmer.

Perhaps not so surprising at a time when CBS' CSI and other popular television dramas revolve around murder investigations, at least one book about the society is underway, and Danny DeVito has optioned a movie.

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