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Project: Cold Case was born out of a desire to provide hope to families of unsolved homicide victims. Cases go cold for many reasons, but the fact remains that once a case goes cold, hope diminishes. While some law enforcement agencies have Cold Case Units, they are typically undermanned and utilize a “solvability factor” that prioritizes cases with the most favorable evidence (witness cooperation, DNA, known suspect, physical evidence, etc.).That prioritization has led to a significant number of cold case arrests, particularly with the technological advances of DNA testing, but it leaves a great number of cases at the bottom of the priority list, not being re-investigated and often time out of the public eye. Even though, in many cases, all the investigator needs is that one witness to come forward. Project: Cold Case is a not-for-profit organization with an ambitious goal of publicizing all unsolved homicides in the United States while linking information, families, and law enforcement, and ultimately, helping to solve cold cases.

Picture of Ryan Backmann the Project Cold Case Team

"And sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we still hope."


Founder | Executive Director


Ryan was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He began his career working in the architectural field as a draftsman and moved his way up to project management before tragedy changed his career path.

On October 10, 2009, Ryan’s father, Cliff Backmann, was shot in the back and killed during a robbery in what remains one of Jacksonville’s more than 1,400 unsolved murders.

After losing his dad, Ryan found a passion for helping others as a victim advocate serving other families that had lost loved ones to homicide. That passion evolved as his dad’s case went cold and fell further and further from being solved. In the constant search for justice, Ryan began educating himself on all things cold case related. He traveled to Colorado to learn about successful cold case legislation in hopes of passing a similar law in Florida. Ryan has also traveled to Washington D.C. on two separate occasions. A trip in 2014 was arranged to speak at the National Press Club about the unknown total number of unsolved homicides in Florida and around the country. Most recently, along with other Cold Case Advocates, Ryan spoke with advisers to both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committees recommending mandatory reporting of unsolved cases to the FBI for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report. Since traveling to Colorado, Ryan has worked closely with Florida Senator Aaron Bean and his team in an attempt to draft meaningful cold case legislation that will make Florida a safer place and inspire other states to do the same.

Ryan has served on the Duval County Child Death Review Team, as well as Chair for the Mayor’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council, and completed the 2013 fall session of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. Ryan is the only survivor/advocate on the Florida Sheriffs Association Cold Case Advisory Commission. He has been recognized locally as one of First Coast News’ “Heroes Next Door” and by the Florida Times-Union as one of their “10 Who Make a Difference”.

Picture of a Project Cold Case banner with our Founder @casiecasem's mother highlighted
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         Our founder, Casie Ellison, (pictured with her mother, above) was only 13 months old when her mother was murdered. Melissa "Missy Taylor" Ellison, died at 20 years old, tragically, due to homicide. Her case is still unsolved. Missy was beaten to death on the morning of December 28th, 1987, in their home off of Normandy Blvd, on the Westside of Jacksonville, FL; while Casie was present. Sadly, Casie doesn't remember much of her mother, but 

Thanks to Project Cold Case, Missy will never be forgotten. 

I’m writing to you to ask you to impact the lives of thousands of families by donating to Project Cold Case.


 A small donation of any amount or services with no expiration can help a family gain closure. Your donation will go toward funding Project Cold Case to assist with Cold Case homicides in efforts to seek justice so the lives that were stolen do not die in vain.


Leave the world in a better place than when you got here. Impact the world better than it impacted you.


The men and women of Project Cold Case along with it’s affiliate Unsolved have been successful in helping to solve a growing number of unsolved murders. I hope one day to write you a letter advising my mother’s has been solved.


Thank you in advance for your contribution. The lives your support will affect is unnumbered.

Here are the ways you can make a donation:


Make a donation online at

Send a check (no cash, please!)

Memo: in memory of Missy Taylor


Project Cold Case

10 South Newnan Street,

Jacksonville, FL 32202

@Casiecasem and loved ones with Ryan Backmann at the Project Cold Case office
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