Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cryptanalysis: Help Solve an Open Murder Case

via Federal Bureau of Investigation

“On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. 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. Not every cipher we get arrives at our door under those circumstances.”

Read the rest, and see the other note here. More on the story from the NYTimes here, and a follow-up on potential leads here.

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