How mapping technology could help solve Rocky’s cold case
A criminal investigator with more than 40 years' experience in law enforcement is making use of modern mapping technology to try to solve a Rockhampton cold case.
Mike King recently tackled the Mima McKim-Hill case in his podcast Mapping Evil and online with an interactive 'storymap' that tracks the final movements of the murdered 21-year-old Rockhampton woman in 1967.
Ms McKim-Hill drove from Rockhampton to Calliope on the morning of March 26 that year; her empty car was found the following day, and her body, two weeks later, near Biloela.
Mr King believes mapping technology can be used to test theories and scenarios for accuracy, depict patterns, and spark the memories of potential witnesses.
"This is a recovery mission of sorts, to recover a memory that someone has, to recover a piece of evidence," he said.
"Everything that you and I do is a dot on the map: you probably buy coffee every morning at the same place in the same way - we pick environments because they work for us.
"We do the same thing with criminals and criminology. We're not just interested in the dots on the map, but why is one specific point on the map important compared to another specific point on the map, and can we learn something from it?"
Mr King said police have always known that geographical analysis contributed enormously to investigations, but recent technology made it possible to visualise in detail how and when the paths of a victim and a perpetrator may have crossed.
"It's added orchestrated control to what we have done naturally over the career of policing," he said.
"The technology and the capability of technology is new and it's made it much easier to do things instead of sticking it on a map and saying, 'Okay, I've got my piece of yarn connecting these two.'"
Having studied Rockhampton's case, Mr King said that the release of any appropriate police knowledge could help the public piece together any missing elements.
He said no case was ever so cold that it could not be solved.
"Law enforcement has to get better at leveraging public CSI - public crowdsourced intelligence," Mr King said.
"Instead of saying 'We're not going to share any information about this case,' maybe there are pieces of information about this case that you could share."
"Time is not always the enemy."