About The Case Breakers

There are now 250,000 unsolved murders in America, and that FBI stat grows by 6000 a year. The reason: Because of rising national crime rates, only 5% of police departments can afford to staff “cold-case” teams to solve them. This horrendous backlog is destroying agency morale and cutting fragile life-lines to generations of grieving family members. 

Thomas J. Colbert, a crisis-management trainer for 18 years, has found a solution.

With the support of good-hearted citizens, corporate partners and government agencies, he has recruited an elite unit of former public servants to tackle this societal scourge. The Case Breakers, a non-profit corporation, supports 3 goals: solving cold cases, funding more volunteer teams, and promoting careers in all branches of service. Colbert said, “These heroes are answering the call of crime victims who’ve given up on hope and justice.”

For years, former officials from city, county, state and federal agencies have told Colbert they would love to find new ways to continue serving their communities. He launched his first California-based team in 2011; together with his wife Dawna, they currently oversee a task force of 40+, led by retired FBI. The seasoned public-safety experts represent more than 1500 years of skill sets – in criminal justice, human intelligence, crime-link analysis, forensics, the behavioral sciences, geospatial analysis, geophysics and archival retrieval.

To prove themselves, they boldly took on the USA’s four biggest mysteries: the hijacker D.B. Cooper, the Zodiac Killer, the burial location of Jimmy Hoffa and the Atlanta Child Murders. Tom and Dawna believe the Case Breakers have cracked them all: a 4-part documentary on the hijacker Cooper will be on a worldwide streamer in the summer of 2022; production companies are negotiating for the concluded Zodiac hunt; the remains of Hoffa have allegedly been located; and there is a stunning update coming in Atlanta.

Here’s how you can support this critical quest: Do you know a former public servant,  forensic expert or mental-health professional who would be right for the expanding teams? How about equipment, materials or technology that could assist members in the field? Or, simply consider making a tax-deductible donation to Fuel The Footwork of these incredible volunteers. We can’t turn this around without you!

On behalf of the Case Breakers and civil servants everywhere, our true-blue thanks.

About the Founders

Tom and Dawna Colbert crossed paths in 1990 while each was trying to solve a crime that personally affected them. Both cases led to arrests and convictions; they were later separately portrayed in TV movies for those efforts.

Before and after their 1993 marriage, they have supported a variety of humanitarian missions and public safety causes. A few samples:

2004-2011: Shannen Rossmiller (left-center, at FBI seminar) was a savant, a municipal judge and a mother of 3 when the 9/11 attack hit. Furious, she taught herself a 4th dialect, Arabic, so she could sting terrorists online. She was credited with more than 200 cases of actionable intelligence and takedowns around the globe. But when the FBI wouldn’t fund this hero’s work, the Colberts did – for 8 years. 

2009: Outraged by four separate anti-Semitic graffiti attacks on a Jewish preschool, the Colberts recruited a diverse group of citizens – Christens, Muslims and atheists – to fund and mount a security camera system (Rabbi at far-left, with camera company owner). As one contributor put it, “3-to-5-year-old kids shouldn’t have to face swastikas at drop-off.”

2010-11: With a dozen police and fire agencies facing budget and jurisdictional-response time concerns in their rural county, the Colberts invited all of the chiefs and their mates to a pair of backyard BBQs for casual introductions and initial discussions – media and politicians not invited. The events also honored their department officers and firefighters of the year.

2012: The Colberts spent many Saturdays with their pre-teen kids in the kitchen of their county rescue mission. Despite the community’s weekly generosity of materials and food, the couple learned of the shelter’s financial shortcomings. Months into assembling their national cold case team, they found time to organize a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser for the mission (Tom with shelter director).