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

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

Contact me with your research needs.