Myrtle Beach cold case work underway

Source: MGN Online
Source: MGN Online

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Police say a team of 30 volunteers is working on five different cold cases. They won't say which cases they are, but they are all murders and the oldest case dates back to 1984.

Last February, the department called on the expertise of former law enforcement officers and other related fields to lend a hand. The team met once in April and will continue to meet once a month at the annex, under the direction of a Myrtle Beach Violent Crimes investigator.

Captain David Knipes says there's a lot of evidence and paperwork to be sifted through.

The cold case files typically consist of "witness statements, officer's statement, pictures, any physical evidence they might have, any toxicology reports or any other reports that come back from SLED," said Knipes.

The department wanted to put a team of volunteers in place so that cold cases could still get looked at, without taking time away from active investigations.

Knipes said the benefit of the team is "to have that extra set of eyes, and maybe they'll come up with some suggestions that weren't thought of before, and hopefully we'll solve these cases."

The work is likely going to be an uphill battle. In 2011, the Rand Corporation found that clearance rates for cold cases are low. Only one in five turns up a suspect. One in 20 results in an arrest and one in 100 results in a conviction.

Myrtle Beach police say the cases are still considered closed, but if the unit finds something significant, they could get re-opened.

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