New Playing Cards Feature Utah Cold Cases

Jul 31, 2019, 8:15 PM | Updated: 8:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Cold Case Coalition wants more of our eyes focused on unsolved murders and missing persons, and they hope fresh leads are in the cards.  The coalition today kicked off Cold Case Month by releasing a unique deck of playing cards aimed generating new leads.

Each deck of cards, made by the Utah Cold Case Coalition, is a regular deck of playing cards.  But, each of the 54 cards has the picture of a person, either killed or missing, and a few details on their unsolved case.

“These cases that we have in these cards, we feel that by releasing these cards has a great chance of being solved,” said Renee VanTussenbrook, with the Utah Cold Case Coalition.

“It’s painful, and it’s something that you never forget each and every day,” said Lillie Allen, whose daughter, Sheree, was murdered nearly 15 years ago.

She regularly sees reminders of her daughter as she’s going through each day.  On January 24, 2005, Sheree’s body was found in a dumpster in West Valley City.

“If there’s an answer out there, we would like to know why,” she said. “What caused you to do such a thing?”

Right now, 750 decks of cards are on sale on the Cold Case Coalition Facebook page, and in prisons and jails.  They want to get the cards into people’s hands, so they can see the faces and the stories, and shake loose some new leads.

“A lot of rumors had gone around that my son had been shot,” said Bobbie Dodge, mother of Cody Lynn Dodge.  He was shot and killed in his West Valley City home September 22, 2007 in what may have been a drug related killing. 21 pounds of marijuana, two cell phones, and nearly $1000 in cash were left in his home.  He was 26 years old.

Bobbie Dodge said, the day her son was murdered in 2007, news arrived quickly in the prison.  So, she believes inmates have information that can help in many cases.

“These cards, being in the prisons, being in the jails with the pictures of these people on it are going to do a lot of help,” said Dodge.

The coalition started off with 400 cold cases, which they felt would have been unmanageable for a deck of cards.  So, they narrowed it down to 54 based on contact with family members, availability of pictures and the solvability of the case.  The jokers were replaced with question marks.

Twenty other states and three other countries have used this tactic.  Connecticut credits several arrests to tips from the cards.

“If someone out there knows something, please help us to close these cases,” pleaded Allen.

Card decks are on sale for $10 plus shipping on the Utah Cold Case Coalition Facebook page.  They are offering the card to jails and prisons on commissary accounts for $1.60 a deck.  The money raised goes towards the rewards, which this month is doubled from $3000 to $6000 for Cold Case Month.

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New Playing Cards Feature Utah Cold Cases