The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) goal is and always will be to solve cold cases. That goal will never waver, it is the foundation of our organization. Yet, a close second is TRAINING law enforcement how to investigate a cold case properly in order to bring justice to the victims and the victims families.
What people, who are not cops, fail to realize is why cases become cold. Detectives do not have the luxury of only working a homicide case. When a homicide occurs and is assigned to a Detective, his work doesn’t stop. The homicide takes priority but his case load continues to pile up on his desk. The robberies, the burglaries, the frauds and the criminal mischiefs continue to come in.
The detective works those homicide leads until he reaches a ‘dead end’ and his supervisors firmly reminds him about the other cases that are piling up on his desk. That is how a case becomes cold. It gets pushed to the side after leads dry up and the investigator has to get back to the other cases.
However, just because a case goes cold, doesn’t mean it is forgotten. Obviously through the advancement of technology, old crimes are being solved decades later. But there is more to solving cold cases then submitting old evidence to a lab. There is interviews, victim and subjectology, crime scene assessments, DNA probabilities, investigative strategies and forensic behavioral assessments among other tasks that need accomplished in order to solve the case.
That is where our experts come in. They will speak and present their methodology and how it has helped them solve cold cases. If you are holding a conference on violent crime, cold cases, homicides or missing persons and want us to speak, please contact AISOCC President Kenneth L. Mains here or view our webpage for additional information and our speakers qualifications at www.aisocc.com.
The following AISOCC members comprise just a partial list of speakers available for your conferences, seminars and workshops: Click on the members name for a small bio of their credentials and experience. A complete copy of their topics and curriculum vitae will be available upon request.
John Liebert – Behavioral Science Committee, Jim Clemente – Honorary Review Board Member, Steve Hodel – Investigative Committee, Dan Vogel – Behavioral Science Committee, John Paolucci – Forensic Science, Nelson Andrew Investigative Committee, Dave Pauly – Forensic Science Committee, Rock Harmon – Forensic Science, Jim Markey – Investigative Committee, Silvia Pettem – Academia Committee, Cloyd Steiger – Investigative Committee, Steve Chancellor – Investigative Committee, Joe Kenda – Honorary Review Board Member, Michael Parker – AISOCC Director of Development, Laura Pettler – AISOCC Vice President, Todd Thorne – Forensic Science, Dan Robb – Behavioral Science Committee, Suzanna Ryan – Honorary Review Board, Tom Hall – Investigative Committee, Chris Kunkle – Consulting Committee Chair, Mark Safarik – Honorary Review Board Member
Once again, if you would like The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases to share our expertise as it relates to cold case investigations and related topics at your upcoming event, please contact AISOCC President Kenneth L. Mains by email and we would be glad to help.
The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases continues to be the foremost name in cold case investigations and research and we want to continue that tradition by offering our experts to educate you and your organization in order to achieve our ultimate goal of solving unsolved cold cases.
AISOCC continues to get the best cold case investigators in the world and once again strikes gold with their partnership with one of the founding members of the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, Tom Hall. The ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ are all retired law enforcement officers and first came together as the cold case squad in Roseburg, OR in December of 2002. They were the first all volunteer retired law enforcement cold case squad in the country. They were given the name the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ by local media after they solved their first case; the 35 year old murder of Benny King, in Roseburg, OG.
The name, ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, came primarily as the result of how they dressed: Wrangler jeans, western shirts, cowboy hats and boots. This was no doubt influenced in part by their collective backgrounds. The name ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ also fit because it reflected their love of the American Cowboy persona; good over evil, right and wrong, love of God, family, community and country.
As the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, they solved three cold cases within their first three years of working together. This brought them a lot of local attention, but then they hit the front page of the L.A. Times and that created a real firestorm of media attention; from news organizations, print media, radio, TV news magazines and even Hollywood.
Tom has joined AISOCC and will undoubtedly bring his dedication, knowledge and passion for standing up for what is right to our organization.
Tom began his federal law enforcement career in 1973 after graduating on the Dean’s honor list, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, from California State University, Sacramento. He spent the next 26 ½ years as a U.S. Postal Inspector. For the first 13 years, in Los Angeles, CA, he investigated a variety of Postal related cases to include mail theft and mail fraud. Later, as a member of the major crimes team he investigated robbery, burglary, and homicide, but specialized in mail bombs. As a 20-year member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) he has over 600 hours of bomb training and has qualified to testify in federal court as a mail bomb expert. He transferred to Phoenix, AZ in 1986 where he spent the next 6+ years. Investigations included internal Postal theft in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as credit card and “identity theft.” He also performed the collateral duties of public information officer and postal facility security specialist. Tom completed his career as a supervisor, team leader, for another 6+ years, in Sacramento, CA. He retired in December of 1999 and moved back “home” to Roseburg, Oregon.
As a subject matter expert, (SME), Tom was an instructor for the Postal Inspection Service crime scene investigation, (CSI), and bomb scene investigation schools. He was also an instructor in threat management and violence in the workplace.
Tom rode in the annual Hashknife Pony Express re-enactment from Hollbrook to Scottsdale, AZ for 10 years. The ‘Ride’ takes place every January and is put on by the U.S. Postal Service and the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue posse. After three days in the saddle, their arrival at the Scottsdale Post Office is the official kick-off to the Parada Del Sole, (Parade of the Sun). The Hashknife Pony Express is the only re-enactment where the participants are sworn in as mail carriers and carry live U.S. Mail.
Tom currently lives in Umpqua, OR with his wife Diane in the mountains up from the Main Umpqua River, famous for salmon and steelhead fishing. Diane doesn’t care much for the fishing, but loves the peace and quiet of the mountains and the forest of Douglas fir. She says it’s like living in a world of Christmas trees. Both love country music and dancing. After all, she found him in a country bar, and after a couple of turns around the hardwood she said, “yep, he’ll do.” … That was over 25 years ago.
AISOCC now has a Cold Case Cowboy to go along with their star-studded lineup of crime-fighters and truth seekers, continuing the AISOCC tradition of getting the best in the world to fight cold cases.
“You sit and stare at their pictures. You breathe the same rarefied air they took their last breath with. Your reality becomes a fantasy. You try to picture yourself there…seeing it through their eyes. You feel their fright and the hands around your own neck. They are your victims. Taken from this world way to soon, mothers, fathers, brothers and daughters alike. Fate doesn’t care who it takes off of this earth as long as it balances out in the end.”
That is how Detective Kenneth L. Mains describes how he feels when he investigates an unsolved cold case. He continues:
“That is where I have a problem with fate….it never balances out in the end. There is always a void, a deep lasting sickness you feel when you can’t bring the victim back to the loved ones that have lost them. I want to go kick in the door, smack around the bad guy and rescue the victims from their evil capture. I want to carry the victim through the door and bring them, home to their loved ones. That is what I want and what I envision. That however, is not reality.”
When asked what a detective is and does Mains went on to say:
“A detective is different from any other position or job. It requires that you be well versed in many disciplines to include behavioral and forensic sciences, investigations, forensic pathology and knowledge of the legal profession. You as a detective, see human beings at their most vulnerable position ever in life….and that is death. You as a detective, have to meet the parents of these dead humans and tell them you will do everything in your power to solve this case. It is a huge responsibility. You look in their eyes, but peripherally you see the pictures of their dead son or daughter on the walls behind them and it makes you feel for the parents. I don’t care how ‘hard’ you think you are…it will always tug at your heart. These family members have a different look in their eyes. They have a look of desperation. They look at you and they put their entire faith in you. They want you to solve this case. How can you not be motivated by that? So in turn, you work that case until you die! That’s what I do. I do it for the victims who don’t have a voice. I do it for the family and friends of the loved ones because that is what Detectives do. At least I feel that is what good Detectives do. Good Detectives never turn it off. They think about the victims when they are shopping at Lowes or when they are fishing or when they lay down at night to sleep. You are always thinking about who, what, why and how the crime occurred. My mind is always spinning and trying to deduce the possibilities in order to solve the case. Because the bottom line is that is the business we are in. We are in the business of solving cases.”
Detective Kenneth L. Mains is dedicated. He investigates the unsolved. He is a detective. He closes out by saying:
“After I meet the parents of a victim of homicide I want to do nothing more than to solve the case and bring them closure. You feel their pain, their desolation and despair. You can see it in their eyes as they put their entire faith in you. They want you to rid them of this sickening feeling of loss and solve the case. That my friend is called pressure. That my friends is cold case investigations. Welcome to my world.”
If you do not have passion for what you do, you will never be the best. At AISOCC, that is what we are and what we continue to strive to be…the best. You cannot become the best without loving what you do. That my friend is called passion and Laura Pettler displays that passion when investigating cold cases. That is why she was promoted from AISOCC Review Board Member, to Director of Development and finally in 2014, Vice President of AISOCC.
She is no stranger to a variety of public platforms, cameras, and media interviews; Laura is a young woman on a mission to use her life to make a difference. Beyond the extreme diversity of her career, what also makes Laura so unique and interesting is her huge personality, multifaceted talent, and her incredibly inspiring backstory that touches so many people’s hearts.
Laura has been interviewed countless times about how becoming a single mother at 17 taught her to meet each of life’s challenges with determination to overcome and how she learned to turn obstacles into opportunities propelling her straight towards enormous success. Sometimes, individuals need those tough times and obstacles to overcome in order to push themselves to succeed. Laura has done that!
As a child, Laura was obsessed with television shows like Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, and The Bloodhound Gang, while embracing the eclectic culture of her youth studying music, dance, art, and culture. So as an adult, while honing her craft towards becoming a professional musician, Laura simultaneously strived to become one of the world’s leading crime solvers… and succeeded.
In her early years, so many people put this “teenage-mother” down by berating her with how she would become nothing but just another statistic. They were right…she has become a walking, talking statistic proving that if Laura can turn obstacles into opportunities…anyone can.
Above being a great person and a modern day success story, Dr. Laura Pettler is a forensic criminologist, which means Laura studies and uses sub-disciplines of forensic science (i.e., physical evidence). This includes bloodstain pattern analysis and shooting incident reconstruction coupled with social and behavioral evidence (i.e., theory and research) like information revealed in victimology and suspectology to reconstruct a crime.
A survivor of domestic violence, Laura’s interest for studying intimate partner homicide grew. Laura recognized early in life that domestic violence was a very serious societal issue and wanted to help. Laura centered her forensic criminology studies on intimate partner violence and crime scene staging. Coupled with studying death investigation, bloodstain pattern analysis, shooting incident reconstruction, victimology, and suspectology, Laura soon becomes a recognized expert in her field and a “go-to” person for numerous law enforcement agencies and private attorneys nationwide for homicide investigation and specifically cold case assistance. In 2014, Laura founded social media based The Crime Scene Staging Awareness Initiative towards remembering victims of homicide and missing persons of staged crime scenes.
In 2005, during a vocal performance for her hometown’s National Night Out, Laura met a District Attorney of a rural North Carolinian district. He hired her to work a cold case and liked her work so much he added Laura to his staff as the first forensic criminologist to work for a prosecutorial district in North Carolina. Grass does not grow under Laura’s feet and she used this opportunity to create several community initiatives.
As the first forensic criminologist to ever to work for a DA’s Office, Laura headed up North Carolina’s first Crime Scene Reconstruction and Behavioral Analysis Program, the District’s Cold Case Task Force, its International Forensic Institute, the District’s International Forensic Science Internship Program, and a professional forensics association for law enforcement and forensic practitioners’ continuing education. Laura’s tireless work met with tremendous success by helping the community from law enforcement to homicide victims and their families.
Armed with a bachelors, masters, PhD, several years post-graduate crime scene reconstruction study, published research, and nearly 20-years of experience, Laura’s specialty is crime scene staging in intimate partner cold case homicides. In fact, it was Laura’s work on the infamous 1986 homicide of Harold Gentry that led to the Cold Case Task Force arrest of Betty Lafon Neumar, The Black Widow Granny, a then 76-year-old grandmother who with five dead husbands and a dead son over 50 years died before she was tried.
Throughout her career, Laura has appeared on numerous television programs, radio shows, and has been interviewed countless times about forensics, homicide cases, music, and other topics.
Laura’s latest television project in partnership with AISOCC and Jupiter Entertainment, is potentially starring in a new TrueCrime TV series, costarring AISOCC founder and President Detective Kenneth L. Mains. The AISOCC and Jupiter Team shot the Sizzle Reel for this new show in late February 2014 and have high hopes for facilitating television outreach towards helping to bring justice to victims.
Laura also worked with Beyond Productions on Discovery ID Channel’s Deadly Women: Matriarch’s of Murder episode in 2012, and in 2013 Laura worked with Executive Producer George Davilas and in New York City alongside to shoot a crime scene reenactment for a potential new daytime TV series. Interestingly, in 2009, Laura was also signed by Washington, DC-based Storyboard Productions to star in a forensic crime scene reconstruction television show about her work in the District Attorney’s Office called Final Analysis.
In addition to her work in TrueCrime TV, Laura is a sought-after commentator as well. After being interviewed on the publicized information about a double murder published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Laura recently appeared on the NBC Affiliate WPXI Channel 11’s NightTalk with Ellis Cannon where she discussed common themes often seen in murders of that nature. Look for Laura on upcoming broadcasts on both local and national commentary programs.
In 2010, Laura appeared on News14 Carolina on a segment called “Hollywood changes juror’s expectations” where Laura demonstrated shooting reconstructive techniques in the Stanly County, NC court house. Laura also appeared on a Stanly-County based TV show where she was interviewed about forensic programming she cofounded while with the District Attorney’s Office.
In 2005, Laura founded Carolina Forensics, a company based in North Carolina, specializing in forensic consultation, research, and education. Over the years, in both the private and public sectors, Laura was often challenged in homicide crime scenes, primarily beatings, stabbings, and shootings by having too little equipment, equipment that didn’t work, or equipment that was too difficult to use.
In 2008, while working on a freezing October night with colleagues in a rural North Carolina county to reconstruct a shooting incident drug deal gone bad, Laura had an idea, “Why not use hollow dowel rods instead of solid dowel rods so that the laser beam goes right through the dowel to the point of impact?”
This was the inception of Laura’s first product line (2009-2013) called Tubular Dowel Crime Scene Reconstruction. Laura co-invented this system with her colleagues from that cold October night and the system met with success throughout the United States and abroad.
But Laura knew there was more…Laura’s inventions have been used on: CSI Las Vegas, NCIS, Rissoli and Isles’.
After four more years of research, in 2013, Laura finally launched her newest invention; a crime scene reconstruction system called The Kaleidoscope System, and discontinued the manufacturing of the Tubular Dowel System. The Kaleidoscope System has tripled in sales compared to the Tubular Dowel System and is carried by 17 forensic product distributors…worldwide. In the fall, Laura was invited to Paris, France to exhibit The Kaleidoscope System at MILIPOL, the largest State Security Exhibition in the world.
The Kaleidoscope System is now available in nearly 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Central America, Mexico, the UK, Europe: France, Switzerland; Australia, Turkey, and in several African countries. Laura hopes to work with a colleague in Singapore to break into the Asian market in 2014.
The Kaleidoscope System is the most versatile and comprehensive crime scene reconstruction system ever invented. It combines the use of green lasers, red lasers, tripods, resin laser bases, clamps, in addition to other items in order to reconstruct many types of beatings, stabbings, and shootings in violent criminal cases.
“Having worked so many murders in my career, I took an eclectic approach and gathered the good, bad, and the ugly from all the reconstruction equipment out there. I analyzed and evaluated all of it and from my evaluation came The Kaleidoscope System,” said Laura.
Laura is the perfect storm, whipping about cold cases with an unbridled fury. She is a huge asset to AISOCC and cold cases everywhere. AISOCC is proud to have her as the second in command in order to bring justice and closure to unsolved cases everywhere! The criminal investigation world should be very happy Dr. Laura Pettler is a scholar and practitioner in that field, I know AISOCC is!
The general membership page has also been updated and we thank all these members for their support and dedication to justice.
Information about the first annual conference held May 12-14, 2014 can be found here.
The AISOCC also has a Facebook page so if you use FB, give us the thumbs up!