It is said by many that murder is the “ultimate” crime. An element of the Criminal Investigations Division's Criminal Investigation Section, the Homicide Unit investigates a murder as if it is, in fact, the "ultimate" crime. When a murder occurs in the City of Miami, a team of investigators respond to the scene. A sergeant leads the team of investigators, tasked with examining evidence, interviewing witnesses, identifying the offender or offenders, obtaining a confession and eventually making an arrest. Investigators work around the clock until all leads have been exhausted. They coordinate their efforts with their colleagues in the Miami Police Department as well as other local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Their investigation starts at the crime scene where, in conjunction with the Crime Scene Investigations Unit, they identify, process and collect any evidence located at the scene. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner responds to the scene at the request of the investigators and performs a preliminary medical examination of the victim. The following day an autopsy is performed on the victim to determine the cause and manner of death. In the meantime, the Homicide investigators continue to interview witnesses, take sworn statements and show them photographs. Once the offender is identified the investigators conduct an interrogation in an attempt to obtain a confession. Eventually they consult with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and arrest the offender.
The investigation does not end there. Detectives assist the State Attorney by conducting follow-up investigations; maintain contact with witnesses and assist with the preparation of the trial. In some cases, the investigators will be called upon to testify at the ensueing trial.
When an investigator runs out of leads the case remains open until new leads are discovered. In some cases new leads are not discovered for several years. These leads are assigned to the Cold Case Squad. The Cold Case Squad is tasked with investigating new leads on cases that may be several years old. This is difficult because they must locate witnesses whose memory of the crime may be less than fresh.
The Homicide Unit does not only investigate murders. Investigators respond to suicides, accidental deaths, unclassified, arson related, and natural deaths in which the victim has no attending physician. Additionally, they investigate all assault and battery cases.