There were many high-profile cases that captured headlines in 2012 –- too many.
Jerry Sandusky, Drew Peterson and Joran van der Sloot all garnered attention around the world in 2012 as each of their trials -– some long overdue –- made their way through the criminal court system.
While each of the above-mentioned cases was horrific in its own right, the topic of discussion for much of 2012 was centered on mass gun violence.
There was certainly no shortage of homicides committed by mass shooters in 2012, with the final month of the year resulting in the highest body count.
At the beginning of December, Jacob Tyler Roberts, a 22-year-old man living in Portland, Ore., entered the Clackamas Town Center and opened fire on unsuspecting Christmas shoppers, killing two before he took his own life.
Three days later, two weeks before Christmas 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and gunned down 27 people, including 20 children.
Less than two weeks later, just before sunrise on Christmas Eve, police say William Spengler, a 62-year-old ex-con turned sniper, ambushed a fire truck in New York and killed two firefighters before taking his own life.
In each of these mass shootings that occurred in the month of December 2012, a motive remains unclear to anyone other than the men responsible -- and they aren’t able to talk.
Also in each of these three shootings, a military-style assault weapon was used. None were legally purchased by the shooters, renewing the already-heated debate over gun control.
All totaled -- whether through gun violence or other methods of homicide -- numerous lives were lost to senseless violence in 2012, something that shows no sign of slowing down as we begin 2013.
There were also many, many missing person cases in 2012. So many that it was difficult, if not impossible, to cover them all.
While we reflect on some of the higher-profile tragic cases of the year, let’s all hope together that we will not see the same level of violence in 2013.
Read on to see The Huffington Post's top 12 cases of 2012: