New Law Aims To Solve Cold Cases Through Searchable Database
Jan 30, 2019, 8:39 AM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Help is on the way to find answers in some of Utah’s unsolved, cold case murders.
It’s part of a new state law that’s using technology to bring police departments together and allow investigators to help each other. The new database will also allow the public to help solve these cases.
They are some of the most heartbreaking and frustrating cases for law enforcement in the state. As leads dry up and hope fades, and as detectives who’ve invested time retire and move on, some cases turn cold.
“Sometimes those cases get, you know, put in a box and off to the side,” said Brian Redd of the Utah Department of Public Safety. “It’s not anybody’s fault. The cases of the day are coming at our law enforcement agencies at such a high rate.”
“This will assure those cases are not forgotten,” he added.
Utah has more than 400 cases considered cold. Homicides, missing persons and unidentified remains all qualify.
After Senate Bill 160 became law, police investigators are required to submit details to the new state database.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity as we work together and collaborate together,” said Jess Anderson with the DPS.
Detectives can draw connections and look for similarities between cases easily through a searchable database.
Officials said the new database is designed to not only allow police to solve these cold cases but also provide closure to the families who have lost loved ones.
Last week, the family of Lina Reyes Geddes came to Utah from Mexico to visit her grave for the first time. She was found murdered 20 years ago in Southern Utah, but she wasn’t identified until just two months ago.
“Someone in the public saw the connection in another state and called us with a tip,” Redd said.
While her ID was not the result of the new database, it’s possible it could help solve her murder.
Basic details on cold cases will also be posted on a new website allowing people to join in to help solve these cases.
“We feel like this is going to be a very groundbreaking effort,” Redd said. “We feel like with the public and the media and law enforcement working together in sharing information, we can get a lot done.”
With 400 cold cases in the state, there is a lot to do.