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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces New Website to Provide Support for Survivors During Cold Case Investigations

 

“Working a “cold case” presents a unique challenge for investigators, but it's equally difficult for the victim's loved ones who have gone years without answers.”

 

MADISON — With this past Sunday marking this year's National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to announce the creation of a new website, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS) and the Attorney General's Crime Victims Council, to serve those affected by a “cold case” investigation.

 

The site is designed to offer survivors support, information for interacting with media, law enforcement and district attorneys, and resources for coping with the emotional toll of an investigation.

 

“Working a “cold case” presents a unique challenge for investigators, but it's equally difficult for the victim's loved ones who have gone years without answers,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. “This website is another example of the commitment of the Department of Justice to those affected by crime.”

 

Renewed attention to a “cold case” can bring a flurry of mixed emotions. Assistant Attorney General David Wambach has worked closely with survivors of “cold cases” while prosecuting and earning convictions in two cases dating back to 1980, the murder of Thomasina Dunivant in Grant County and the murder of Marilyn McIntyre in Columbia County.

 

This year, Wambach was recognized for his work in the McIntyre case, being named Prosecutor of the Year by The Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators.

 

“A “cold case” investigation and prosecution takes a lot of cooperation and teamwork, and that includes keeping a victim's loved ones informed and supported,” Assistant Attorney General Wambach said.

 

Advances in investigative strategies and technologies, specifically DNA testing, have allowed investigators to take a more aggressive approach to long unsolved homicides.

 

The table below details work done by the Wisconsin DOJ's “cold case unit” throughout the last several years. With grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, retired homicide investigators dedicated to “cold cases” have been hired and overtime has been funded for detectives and for crime lab analysts. The table below summarizes activities of the Wisconsin Cold Case Unit and local partner agencies.

 

 

Category

2008

2009

 

2010

2011

Case Files Reviewed

29

124

 

98

54

Items of Evidence Reviewed

109

405

 

418

114

Items of Evidence Submitted/Resubmitted

39

267

 

269

271

Items of Evidence Tested

6

248

 

62

252

Items of Evidence with usable DNA

2

29

 

4

21

Items of Evidence that ID Suspect

1

18

 

11

2

Enter into CODIS: DNA

0

20

 

3

0

Witness Interviews

63

156

 

181

252

Number of Convictions

1

6

 

5

2

 

A link to the new website developed by OCVS is here: