Calling all amateur sleuths – your help is needed. A couple of recent crowdsourced requests for assistance appeal to the mystery lover in all of us.
Crack the Code on a Murder Case
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has put out a public call for help solving a nearly 12 year old murder case. According to the FBI website:
On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets.
Despite extensive work by our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), as well as help from the American Cryptogram Association, the meanings of those two coded notes remain a mystery to this day, and Ricky McCormick’s murderer has yet to face justice.
“We are really good at what we do,” said CRRU chief Dan Olson, “but we could use some help with this one.”
In fact, Ricky McCormick’s encrypted notes are one of CRRU’s top unsolved cases. “Breaking the code,” said Olson, “could reveal the victim’s whereabouts before his death and could lead to the solution of a homicide. Even if we found out that he was writing a grocery list or a love letter,” Olson said, “we would still want to see how the code is solved. This is a cipher system we know nothing about.”
Identify Mysterious Science Artifacts
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is inviting enthusiasts to participate in describing some of the hundreds of historical objects they have collected. While most of the artifacts are well documented, some are unidentified or need more descriptive information, like a mysterious brass-colored, crank-like Metal Instrument in Wood Case. Visitors to the site can view the items and offer clues about the history and origins of some of these important artifacts.