Sheryl "Mac" McCollum is a crime analyst, college professor, and founder and director of the non-profit Cold Case Investigative Research Institute based in Atlanta, Georgia.
McCollum's law-enforcement career began in 1982 at the Rape Crisis Center at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. From there, she moved on to the Metro Atlanta Crime Commission where she served as director. During the 1996 Olympic Games, she was the coordinator for the Crisis Response Team that planned and trained for four years and responded to the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, providing victim services.
McCollum also served as the Georgia state director of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
In 2004, McCollum founded Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI), a collaboration between Auburn University Montgomery, Faulkner University and Bauder College. CCIRI unites researchers, practitioners, students and the criminal justice community to work collectively to advance research, training and techniques in solving cold cases.
CCIRI has since worked with 27 colleges and universities, more than 8,000 students and 600 experts, who have volunteered their time and talents to solve cold cases.
Beginning in 2008, CNN followed four Bauder College students as they built case files in the Chandra Levy and Natalee Holloway cold-case investigations, led by McCollum and her Cold Case Investigative Research Institute. In 2009, McCollum's students, after pursuing the Levy investigation for more than a year, narrowed the suspect list to one.
In 2017, McCollum held workshops at CrimeCon, a conference advertised as a "true-crime theme park" for amateur sleuths.
McCollum graduated high school from Woodward Academy, a preparatory school in Atlanta. She received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University and a master's in criminal justice from Kaplan University.
McCollum lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and two children.