The Vidocq Society was founded in 1990. Philadelphia’s second-in-command U.S. Customs Service Special Agent, a well-known forensic sculptor from Philadelphia, and a prison psychologist from Michigan were the first members.
The trio wanted to establish a venue at which like-minded persons, in and out of forensics, would gather to discuss and debate crimes and mysteries. The first meeting, a luncheon, occurred at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard. Later the organization met at the Olde City Tavern then at the Down Town Club. Today, The Union League of Philadelphia is our primary meeting site.
After the founding, federal state and local law enforcers sought to join, attention grew, and original members now-posted outside of the City of Brotherly love encouraged others to join.
In time the focus of the Society narrowed to where unsolved deaths and, in certain cases, disappearances became the organization’s mandate.
The Society was founded by William Fleisher, V.S.M., Frank Bender, V.S.M., and Richard Walter, V.S.M.
The Society’s original bylaws called for 82 Vidocq Society Members (V.S.M.s), one for each year of Vidocq’s life. Today more than 150 men and women from diverse backgrounds comprise our unique group, sprinkled with forensic experts, businesspeople, and others chosen to wear the distinctive red, white, and blue rosette Vidocq rosette.
Frank Bender, V.S.M., a talented sculptor and forensic reconstructionist with the uncanny ability to recreate faces for law enforcement from partial and complete skulls. His work has been featured on major documentaries and television programs across the globe. (Click here to see one of his latest works.)