To lose a loved one in a violent act would produce unimaginable grief. To have that loved one’s case unresolved would only add to the pain.

This issue of The N’West Iowa REVIEW marks the final installment of the series, “Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s unsolved murders,” which was designed to be “a yearlong collaborative effort by Iowa newspapers to revisit some of the most brutal and mystifying homicides in Iowa’s history.”

The main goal of the project was obvious: To produce more tips that might help revive an investigation or push it forward in one of the state’s 438 unsolved murders.

But the impact went beyond that. It reminded the family members of those who were killed that Iowans have not forgotten their loved ones, despite the passage of time.

Most news organizations are far too competitive to team up on an investigative project, but there are times, and this is one, when a collaborative effort makes sense. We appreciate the Iowa Newspaper Association’s work in helping coordinate the project.

The Gone Cold series was launched in July of last year.

Not every news organization printed or aired every story. Many opted to highlight cold cases from their particular region.

The REVIEW printed the entire series, in addition to producing two more in-depth stories involving local cases. We also included a weekly “How You Can Help” sidebar, listing the contact information for the proper authorities.

Did the series help?

Three arrests have been made in Cold Cases since the project began. It’s unclear if there was a direct link between the arrests and the stories, but what is clear is that reminding readers and viewers about cases long forgotten produces additional tips, which authorities rely on in dormant cases.

You can find all of the Gone Cold stories at the Iowa Cold Cases website at www.iowacoldcases.org/news/gone-cold-exploring-iowas-unsolved-murders/.

We are grateful to have taken part in this project, and we believe our readers have appreciated the work. In the current media environment of reduced staffs, pooling resources to take on public service or investigative projects is a smart and worthwhile response.

More than anything, we hope it provides some measure of comfort to families to know that Iowans haven’t, and won’t, simply forget about the victims of brutal crimes.