Meet the Miami-Dade cold case unit that solved 16 open cases in 2021

‘It definitely takes a toll on your life,’ longtime detective says

There are thousands of unsolved cases at the Miami-Dade Police Department, which stores the case files in a warehouse offsite. Inside police headquarters in Doral, large closets are also stacked floor to ceiling with boxes filled with open cases.

DORAL, Fla. – There are thousands of unsolved cases at the Miami-Dade Police Department, which stores the case files in a warehouse offsite. Inside police headquarters in Doral, large closets are also stacked floor to ceiling with boxes filled with open cases.

It’s where seasoned homicide detectives David Denmark and Johnathan Grossman dig for clues, reinvestigating decades-old cases.

The two make up the department’s cold case unit.

“It definitely takes a toll on your life, because if you don’t dedicate what you’re supposed to, you shouldn’t be in homicide,” Denmark said.

Denmark has about 20 years of experience under his belt, including his work on the infamous case of serial killer Samuel Little.

(Local 10′s True-Crime Podcast The Florida Files below)

Johnathan Grossman works alongside Denmark, and in 2021 their unit closed 16 cold cases, the most in years, including the 1966 murder of 17-year-old Daniel Goldman.

The teen was abducted from his Surfside home. Suspect George Defeis demanded a ransom in exchange for Goldman, investigators say, but that never happened.

The Goldman case sat in boxes for years until 2020, when the unit tested an old fingerprint. They investigated for two years, and the detectives placed Defeis at the Goldman home and used other witness accounts from the 1960s to tie him to the kidnapping.

They soon learned the suspect had died in a nursing home in the 1980s but had enough to solve the case in 2021 and give the Goldman family answers.

Despite their success, there are thousands of open unsolved cases, with more piling up each week.

“You see shootings where people have less value of life, no problem just shooting up a party, things like that,” Grossman said.

The two detectives opened up about the brazen crimes we are seeing today and the importance of community cooperation.

“We do need help from the community and we do need help from crime stoppers anything small or big is welcome,” Denmark said.

The cold case unit is expanding this year with the addition of another detective to help tackle the caseload.

Several cold cases are expected to be solved in the coming months, including one from the 1980s.

“It’s touching to call [families] after 20, 30 years and tell them you’ve been able to solve their loved one’s case,” Grossman said.


About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.