Lissa Marie Redmond
In 2011 I received a phone call at the Buffalo Police cold case office. The Vidocq Society had agreed to review one of my unsolved homicide cases.
Before transferring to the cold case squad, I had never heard of the Vidocq Society. Based out of Philadelphia, this elite group of professionals met once a month to review cold cases presented by the investigating agencies and offer assistance in furthering their cases. Once I got the call, I started to do my research.
Often mistakenly referred to as a secret society, the Vidocq Society provides assistance free of charge to law enforcement and prosecutors. Founded in 1990 by William Fleisher, Frank Bender and Richard Walter, the three men wanted to create a place where experts across the field of forensics could gather and pool their knowledge to solve cold cases.
The not-for-profit society, named for famed French criminal-turned detective Francois Vidocq, paid for my travel to Philadelphia and put me up at the Union League, where the society still meets. Its history and success stories were chronicled in the 2010 book The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo.
I gave my presentation to a room of about eighty professionals in fields as diverse as state, local, and federal law enforcement, polygraphy, forensic facial reconstruction, criminology, medicine, and pathology.
After the last slide in my power point presentation I was met with a roomful of hands in the air. I was questioned on the facts of case by the experts in that room as closely as in any court of law I had testified in. After the questions I was given suggestions, strategies, and contact numbers for just about any kind of assistance I could possibly need. Individual members followed up with me months after I had gone back to Buffalo, checking to see on the progress in the case.
In 2015 I was invited back to Philadelphia to attend another meeting as a guest. I put my application in for membership and no one was more surprised than I was when later that year I was sworn in as a special member. One of the greatest honors of my life was being able to pin the distinctive red, white, and blue rosette that denotes membership to my lapel.
Now I get to travel to Philadelphia and am honored with the privilege of being one of the people with their hand in the air, ready to assist a fellow investigator with their own case, in any way I can.
For further information on the society, you can go to their website at http://www.vidocq.org