Welcome to another Sum it up! The case turned cold by 2005, after tests showed that blood found at the crime scene matched neither the victim nor her relatives or friends. The evidence was run through the state’s database. Last year, it found a match with an offender already in the system.
Tulsa, OK: “After working for almost 40 years at the Tulsa Police Department, Mike Nance knew it was time for a change.” Officer Nance will not just retire but will continue to serve as Oklahoma’s District 27 cold case investigator under District Attorney Brian Kuester!
“Kuester said hiring a cold case detective was something he wanted to do when he was elected in the fall, but he didn’t expect to hire someone so soon. A position came open for an investigator, Kuester heard Nance was interested, and then an offer was made. “I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Kuester said.” We are too!
Canada: Breathing life into cold cases, a three-part series that will tell you about some Canadian cases where authorities still can use the public’s help.
Cincinatti, OH: “Members of the U.S. Marshals’ Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team arrested Lamar Simmons. He was indicted for the 2005 Jose Vazquez murder, retaliation and weapons charges, which will carry a maximum prison sentence of 28 years in prison. The case went cold for years until Cincinnati Homicide Detective John Horn, who specializes in cold cases, began looking into it last year. Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers, 513-352-3040.”
Ames, Iowa: The case of Sheila Jean Collins still resonates with the good people in Ames and of course, with the student body at ISU. Sheila was found dead on Jan. 28, 1968. She attended Iowa State University majoring in English and speech. Her boyfriend in Illinois could not make it to Iowa for the weekend of January 26, 1968. However, there was a possibility that Sheila might be able to get a ride.
“At around 8:30 p.m., a blue Volkswagen pulls up to the intersection where Sheila is waiting. The driver, by some witness accounts, is an average male, medium height, brown hair. No glasses. Unremarkable. Sheila gets into the car, and it drives away. Sheila Jean Collins is never seen alive again.” Sheila is found on January 28, 1968, by a father and his son.
“She is on her knees and forearms. Her blue sorority sweater and bra have been pulled up over her neck. Otherwise, she is nude. Her coat is thrown over her back, collar toward her neck as though carefully arranged. A double strand of 1/8-inch nylon cord has been wrapped around Sheila’s neck and tied with a granny knot. A piece of 3/4-inch galvanized steel pipe, a little more than 21 inches long, has been inserted under the cord on the left side of her neck. It has been twisted in a clockwise direction, tightening the cord around her neck. Her hair is wrapped up with the pipe and cord, and later the police will have to cut her hair off to free the murder weapon. She has blood below her nose and two small, superficial cuts on the skin above her sternum. Speculation begins immediately that she’s been sexually assaulted, but medical examiner William Bliss will later be quoted in the press as saying there is no evidence Collins was raped or sexually molested.”
Amsterdam, the Netherlands: You are never too old to confess to a crime! Thanks, Jacques.
“The 1946 killing of Felix Gulje, the head of a construction company who at the time was being considered for a high political post, roiled the Netherlands, and the failure to find the assassin became a point of contention among political parties. On Wednesday, the mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, said a woman has confessed to the killing, saying it happened in the mistaken belief that Gulje had collaborated with the Nazis.
On the cold sleeting night of March 1, 1946, Atie Visser rang Gulje’s doorbell in Leiden, and told his wife that she had a letter to give to her husband. When he came to the door she shot him in the chest. He died in the ambulance, the mayor said, reading a lengthy statement at a news conference.
Visser had been a member of the resistance during the 1940-1945 Nazi occupation. Rumors had been circulating that Gulje was working with the occupation authorities, and he had been targeted in the underground press. His company did regular business with the Germans, and several employees belonged to a pro-Nazi organization. He was arrested after the war, but acquitted.
After his death it emerged that Gulje had sheltered some Jews and had given money to help hide others with other families. A banned Catholic association also held secret meetings in his home, Lenferink said.”
Seattle, WA: Kerry May-Hardy has finally been found: Kerry vanished in June 1972. In 2010, remains were found near a gold course.
“Attempts to identify the remains through dental records proved fruitless, so the detectives — routine in these sorts of cases — sent a small bone fragment to the University of North Texas’ Center for Human Remains in an attempt to match its DNA to a missing person. Meantime, Myers said his detectives put together a forensic composite sketch of the woman based on the skeletal remains. May-Hardy’s family contacted the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office after seeing a media release of the sketch, saying they believed it closely resembled the missing woman.”
A DNA match was confirmed in early June 2011. Police is still researching Kerry’s disappearance. One issue they will explore is a possible tie to Ted Bundy who was active in that area during the early 70s.
Harris County, TX: “Over the last five decades, Harris County has quietly buried the remains of more than 400 people who lost not only their lives but also their identities in a huge paupers’ cemetery on Houston’s dusty industrial outskirts.” New attempt will be made in hopes to find these people.
Calcutta, India: Thousands of cases are awaiting their examiniation in Calcutta’s lone Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) but is is unable to conduct tests, including DNA profiling, on over 6,000 samples. “But don’t ask why. For, FSL Director A.K. Bapuly says so. Read about their struggles here.
Detroit, MI: No evidence left behind! “Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said today that there was no evidence left behind in the closed Detroit Police Crime Lab on Brush Street, this after the Free Press reported last week that the building had been left unsecured leaving thousands of rounds of live ammo, sealed evidence kits and case files accessible to anyone entering the building.”
Los Angeles, CA: “Using new technology, analysts are accessing evidence from 60,000 cases dating as far back as the 1970s, helping to bring killers and rapists to justice.
At a crime scene, everything on the body and within five feet is gathered by the coroner: clothes, fingernails, bullets and hair. Years ago, once the coroner completed the autopsy, investigating detectives would pick up whatever evidence they thought would be useful. Everything else was left behind and eventually forgotten.
Evidence from cases including hit-and-run deaths, arson and serial killings piled up in the coroner’s basement until freezers were brimming with blood evidence and sexual assault kits, and floor-to-ceiling shelves were overflowing with shrink-wrapped clothing, bullets and gunshot residue samples.
With the advent of DNA and cold-case units, that once-overlooked evidence has become what one detective called a “virtual treasure trove” that has led to breaks in trails long gone cold.”
Australia makes a discovery on recovering old fingerprints! “The scientists, at the University of Technology in Sydney, believe it is a world first, that could help police reopen unsolved cases. They used nanotechnology to detect dry and weak fingerprints, which are not revealed by traditional techniques. Nanotechnology reveals much sharper detail of amino acid traces from old fingerprints than existing methods. Their aim is to detect fingerprints of any age on any surface.”
The science behind Ratko Mladic’s trial … the key: in a war crimes case, forensic anthropologists and pathologists must prove that the killings were unlawful and not part of regular combat. Want to know how they do that? Read this fascinating article!!!
In other news: if you wish to read more about the costs of capital punishment, check this here.