Historical Research & Writing


I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then followed my mother’s advice to go somewhere “different” for college. In 1965, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. Now, more than five decades later, my roots are still in the East, but my heart – and my passion for researching and writing about history – is in the West. Colorado has remained my home. Here you will learn more about my books, articles, current projects – and about me. Thanks for visiting my website. (Visitors to are redirected here, as that site has now merged with this one.)

Stumped on a cold case? Need historical context for a research project? Looking for people or places in Boulder County, Colorado? Contact me for more information.

Silvia Pettem



THE LONG TERM MISSING: HOPE AND HELP FOR FAMILIES will be released by Rowman & Littlefield in early 2017. Pre-publication order information will be available soon.

THE LONG TERM MISSING empowers families and gives them hope by providing them with the tools they need to become their long-term missing person’s advocate while proactively searching for their loved ones.

Why Finding the Missing is Important
Categories of Long-term Missing Adults
Children: Helping to Bring Them Home
Proactive Police
Civilian Searchers
Celeste’s Sister Sara: Found Alive in Mexico
NamUs: An Investigative Tool
Become Your Long-term Missing Person’s Advocate
Gather Information, Document, and Do the Research
Pitfalls and Legalities
Retrospect –– Inside a (Previously) Cold Case
Final Words

Silvia Pettem writes from the heart. Her engaging narrative is packed with real-life stories and is a must-read for family members as they journey from heartache to hope.

R. H. Walton, EdD
Associate Professor, Criminal Justice Program, Utah State University
Author of Cold Case Homicides: Practical Investigative Techniques

Also to be released in 2017 ––
HANDBOOK OF MISSING PERSONS (edited by Morewitz and Colls) to be published in the United Kingdom by Springer International. Co-author with R.H. Walton in chapter on “Investigation of Long-term Missing Persons as Cold Case Homicides: An American Perspective.”

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Long-term missing persons
Unidentified remains
Cold case homicides
Boulder County, Colorado, history