SCMPD launching new Cold Case Unit - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD launching new Cold Case Unit

(Source: SCMPD) (Source: SCMPD)

The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department is doubling down on the effort to solve some of the jurisdiction’s toughest cases, introducing a brand new Cold Case Unit.

The Department is bringing in seven new, but experienced, investigators.

All told, the seven investigators have a combined 100-plus years experience between them. And they're hoping that expertise in investigations and forensics will help close cases once and for all.

While the unit's commander couldn't give an exact number, the new Cold Case Unit will tackle open, unsolved cases from as early as last year, all the way back to the 1960's.

One of the main messages the Cold Case Unit wants to convey to families of victims of violent crime is that their case has not been forgotten. And if families haven't heard from investigators yet, they'll hear from them when the team dives into the case.

On Metro's website, there are a few of the cases the newly-formed unit will tackle, and the commander says they'll systematically go through every open case year by year until all are solved.

"When you put those different fields of experience together, we can all look at the case as a group. And then we may see something as a group that we wouldn't see individually. So that's what we're hoping for, to come together as a team to generate some leads and close out these cases,” said Cold Case Commander Lt. David Barefield. "Those cases that are still open, they have not been forgotten about."

Lt. Barefield is heading up the new Cold Case Unit and says they plan to systematically review each case year-by-year from 2015 back to the 1960's until each unsolved case is closed.

"We want the families to know that they haven't been forgotten about, and if they haven't heard from us yet, they will be hearing from us when we get to their case,” said Lt. Barefield.

Most in the Cold Case Unit have years of experience policing right here in Chatham County, like Billy Ray, who will draw from 27 years of conducting investigations.

"Usually when you call them and say, I've got the guy, or that we're going to pursue it, you feel that sigh of relief. It's a good feeling,” said Ray.

It's the decades of forensics and investigations experience that families, like the family of Hannah Brown, are counting on to bring them closure. Brown was murdered earlier this year on Newcastle Street, police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

"Who did this and why? She was a mother to five beautiful children,” said Brown’s sister, Uleasa Brown.

Brown says it does bring her some relief to know that a new Cold Case Unit has formed, and hopes for her family's sake and others affected, that they get results.

"I've watched cases where, like you said, the '60's...10, 15 years. But even at that point that family still looks for closure. Do I want it to take that long with Hannah's? No, I don't. But if that be the case, at least I would know and our family would know that justice at some point one day will be served,” said Brown.

The new Cold Case Unit will work part-time, 20 hours a week.  Investigators are finishing up training, brushing up on new technology and procedure, and already looking at cases.

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