Cold Case Sleuths – Fascination, Dedication, Teetering on the Edge of Obsession


In my three plus decades of volunteer service to crime victims, I’m sure there have been those who think my passion is beyond healthy. However, in the scheme of things, I couldn’t be healthier with my juggling act. Yes, often it is a solitary act.  But, I do have priorities such as healthy eating, personal hygiene, paying all the bills on time, showing up for work and giving my all to my clients, taking care of home chores, projects, doing laundry, make my bed every morning!  

As a people person at heart, I enjoy communicating with everyone, try to plan ahead for the next chapter in South Carolina and try to get sleep, but admittedly could use more.  I tend to put other’s need before my own as it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can help others.  But, I have drawn some boundaries with age.  The social arena tends to be at the bottom of the list, and that’s not great, but I deal with it. Unfortunately, relaxation for relaxations’ sake, is something I can never achieve for more than an hour or so. That’s the kind of skill a future life partner could teach me, but that’s another story.

In contrast, I have met and conversed at length with a different breed of crime victim advocate. There are many law enforcement professionals who also take on pet projects in the form of cold cases. They perform their paid work, or may be retired and become consumed by a case which called to them. It often is a case they worked on previously and just can’t let go.  They have promised the family they will stay with it pro bono.  They may go through the motions of life, but in reality, THAT CASE is never far from the forefront of their minds. They may have to drop everything in favor of a new thought, a chance meeting, a bright idea.  Weeks, months, years pass. The mundane things in life appear to fall by the wayside in favor of the next angle, the next lead.  They cut off people, they may live on junk food and caffeine. They pursue every free resource available that may give them an edge in order to bring the case to the next level.

They often are the one lifeline left to family members who have entrusted valuable information, which perhaps the police have neglected or have no time to review in-depth. Trying to find other family or friends who are on the same page, who can help, is mostly an exhausting, thankless task.  Perhaps other family members do not agree, have secrets of their own and view you, the dedicated one, like that pesky fly worthy only of a swat!

Although they are trained in their craft, with a cold case that spans years with little if any action, the key is often to blow off the dust, to give it new life, to rise from the ashes if you will. How does one do that, you ask?  Attention from interested colleagues, writers, publishers, social media or those with something else to offer like a prolific blogger, newly published author, and national radio show host! Enter me, stage left, sometimes when it’s a good fit.  At other times, as I’ve been told, it’s enough just to have someone else listen, to know the story for the sake of posterity.

Recently, I was asked by such a dedicated person about the nuances of how to tell a story, how to maintain loyalties, knowing how far to push the envelope with others. What an honor to be able to offer my opinion! It takes lots of time,  measured thoughts, networking, oodles of research, perseverance, thinking out of the box, patience, the flexibility to be able to shift gears at a moment’s notice to do this kind of intense work, most of the time on a shoestring budget.

Although I prefer a broader approach to helping others, I am not here to judge how others choose to spend their time. It is very honorable to be the sole voice, the lone ranger when that’s all a victim has whose trail has gone cold.  So, carry on good woman!  We need thousands more like you!  



To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity.Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email:



Clueless in New England Author, Michael Dooling, Guest on Shattered Lives

You Can Decorate Absence However You Want, But You’re Still Gonna Feel What’s Missing.”―

Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

Author Michael Dooling is a historian and someone who enjoys putting the pieces together… particularly as it relates to intriguing stories…. Those people and entities of the past that have been forgotten come alive with Mr. Dooling’s due diligence and portrayals.

His latest book, “Clueless in New England: The Unsolved Disappearances of Paula Welden. Connie Smith and Katherine Hullis a fascinating account of three of the thousands who go missing in this country… never to be heard from again.

Consider three young women… all disappearing under mysterious circumstances in various regions of New England…all with an initial common denominator- that of hitchhiking…       These were bright young women with promise and seemingly had good futures ahead of them. What happened? Was there something to tie them together?  What theories can be drawn about why they went missing?

Listen to this Podcast and Learn about the Journey taken by

Mr. Dooling:  CLICK HERE      

The following is a summary of topics:

  • How and why these three women were combined to create this book:   Connie Smith…then Paula Welden … then Katherine Hull – An accumulating file and drawing a geographic circle looking for similar characteristics;
  • Who was Paula Welden? A renegade, exploring life….
  • Vermont’s Bennington College – Ahead of it’s time in education…
  • The circumstances on December 1,1946 – the disappearance
  • Assumptions of “lost in the woods” on the Long Trail;
  • Delilah- Lack of priority for missing young people –Have the assumptions changed?
  • Lost, or  a run away” versus abductions?
  • A history of Hitchhiking -1940’s versus currently;
  • Searching in the woods and tree density- Is there a relationship?
  • The bottom line- The theory about Fred Gadette…;
  • In the 1940’s and 1950’s – “Amnesia theories…”
  • Who was Connie Smith? A summer camp victim from Wyoming;
  • Seen by as many as 8 people and picked up…
  • Camp Director… a shifty character;
  • A common problem- no records/reports kept on these searches;
  • The largest search ever conducted in the State of Connecticut;
  • The “State of the Art” Connecticut State Police- even in 1952!
  • Peter Smith, Connie’s father hired a “psychic horse”
  • “Lady Wonder” and her work history…
  • The First Missing Person’s Use of TV- Art Linkletter’s House Party;
  • Geographical- Psychological Profiling in these cases?
  • Basic Theory and factors of Geographic profiling today;
  • Actual witnesses in each case…
  • Katherine Hull – A young woman lost in 1936… No official records;
  • The circumstances of Katherine’s disappearance;
  • Seven years later… a skull perched in a tree;
  • The only case with forensic evidence…
  • Which case would have the greatest solvability potential today?
  • The possibility of serial killers from New York abducting in these cases?
  • Delilah speaks on how a non-profit such as the CUE Center conducts a search;
  • The importance of the CUE Center as a liaison for families with law enforcement;
  • Michael on investigating the elderly who go missing – Police Biases;
  • Police authorized canine searches when you don’t know what to do…  “It looks like you’re doing something”
  • A hierarchy of “who gets the most attention” when searching for the missing;
  • Serial killer – Edmund Kemper – An example of “Displaced Rage”  ? Similar Theory of the Paula Welden case;
  • Another example – “The Hitchhiker Killer” and his technique;
  • Status of the three cases now….
  • Messages to take away from “Clueless in New England”
  • Contact Information;;
  • Book available at: amazon or Barnes & Noble;