Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Ryan began his professional career working in the architectural field as a draftsman, moving his way up to project management before tragedy changed his career path. On October 10, 2009, Ryan’s father, Cliff Backmann, was shot and killed during a robbery in what remains one of Jacksonville’s 1,500+ unsolved murders.
After losing his dad, Ryan found a passion for helping others as a victim advocate, serving other families that had lost loved ones to homicide. That passion evolved as his dad’s case went cold and fell further from being solved. In the constant search for justice, Ryan began educating himself on all things cold case-related. He traveled to multiple states to learn about successful cold case practices. Ryan has traveled to Washington D.C. on numerous occasions, including a trip in 2014 to speak at the National Press Club about the unknown total number of unsolved homicides in Florida and around the country. Most recently, along with other cold case advocates, Ryan spoke with advisers to both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committees recommending mandatory reporting of unsolved murders to the FBI for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report.
In 2015, Ryan started Project: Cold Case to advocate for cold cases while linking families, information, and law enforcement. Years of working closely with Florida lawmakers and establishing relationships with law enforcement was instrumental in establishing a Florida Cold Case Advisory Commission and a statewide Cold Case Database.
Ryan has served on the Duval County Child Death Review Team, Chair for the Jacksonville Mayor’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council, and completed the 2013 fall session of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. Ryan is the only survivor/advocate on the Florida Sheriffs Association Cold Case Advisory Commission and a subject matter expert in cold case advocacy for the national SAKI TTA program. Ryan also serves as a board member for the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association and as a Regional Coordinator for the Florida Crisis Response Team. Most recently, Ryan was invited to be a member of the Vidocq Society.
Ryan regularly provides training for advocates and law enforcement as well as informational presentations to schools, universities, and civic groups. Ryan has been recognized by numerous agencies, organizations, and publications for his work involving cold case advocacy.
Freda is a veteran of the Navy, which brought her to Jacksonville in 2004. For the past decade, she has aligned passions and focus on prospects toward community investment and advocating for victims’ rights. Her mission-focused disposition has allowed her the opportunity to bring awareness while offering perspective for those affected by crime.
A graduate of the University of North Florida, Freda majored in Criminal Justice. She has interned, volunteered, and worked at various local nonprofits, State Attorney’s Office, and Federal Probation. Freda has always looked for ways to elevate and balance her professional skills with targeted goals: knowledge through experience. It was during an internship with local nonprofit Compassionate Families, which provided services to those impacted by homicide, that she first worked with Ryan and solidified her direction in advocacy. While working with families of homicide can be challenging, the impression of gratitude is mutually shared.
Freda enjoys nurturing her family, reading, and playing the cello during her time away from the office.
Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Clint Richardson is a 2017 graduate of Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business. Clint joined Project: Cold Case as marketing coordinator and currently manages the website, cold case database, social media accounts, and handles any other special projects.
Since joining Project: Cold Case, Clint has worked to grow the organization’s platform, with the Facebook page growing from 2,000 likes upon his arrival to over 26,000 in March 2021. With daily posts, Project: Cold Case now averages approximately 200,000 Facebook users reached each month.
At Auburn, Clint served on the Auburn University Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Team and the Auburn Jungle Student Leadership Team. He also runs the Auburn Uniform Database and has been published in the Auburn Plainsman and Uni-Watch, among other outlets.