TAMPA, Fla. — A new Tampa Bay History Center exhibit aims to help law enforcement agencies identify missing persons and solve "cold cases."

  • "The Art of Forensics" runs through November 27
  • Exhibit comprised of 20 cold cases from USF Florida Cold Case Initiative
  • For more information, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org

On Friday, University of South Florida Professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science Dr. Erin Kimmerle, along with co-creator and forensic artist Sergio Soto, debuted “The Art of Forensics 2018.”

The exhibit is a journey through the investigative process. Twenty cases were selected from the USF Florida Cold Case initiative, a research project funded by the National Institute of Justice.

"John" & "Jane Doe" graves were exhumed and re-examined. Artists then used the decades-old remains to create the clay sculptures, drawings, and digital composites that make up the exhibit.

"That was a time before mass computing and national databases, so they've fallen through the cracks for different reasons," Kimmerle said.

The Tampa Police Department has four of the twenty cold cases from across the country featured in the exhibit.

"As police officers, we get in to help other people, and when you don't have answers for a loved one that's a difficult and very frustrating spot to be in," Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.

Exhibit creators and law enforcement hope visitors will be able to help provide key information or clues that could solve the cases.

"That person has a name. They have a story to be told, but these people are totally unidentified," Dugan told us. "We don't know what their story is. By coming here it may trigger some memory and help us bring an ending to their story."

"The Art of Forensics" will be on display at the Tampa Bay History Center through November 27.