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Connecticut law enforcement officials are hoping decks of playing cards will help them solve cold cases throughout the state, the Record-Journal reported.
The cold-case card decks, which are sold only inside the Connecticut prison system, are modeled on a successful program in Florida, Mike Sullivan, supervising inspector of the cold case unit and the violent crimes bureau, told the paper.
The first deck featured photos of victims related to 52 unsolved cases and was issued in 2010. There are now two editions of the cards, with a third in the works, according to the Record-Journal.
So far, six cases have been solved from tips generated by the cards, Sullivan said, and the department has received about 320 tips, almost exclusively from the inmates, who can call a special tip line number and remain anonymous.
Sullivan, according to the paper, said the cases come from local police departments.
“We are kind of like a conduit,” Sullivan said. “When a tip comes in, it is forwarded to the investigating detective and they can make their own assessment.”
The program doesn’t use taxpayer money because inmates pay for the cards within the prisons, Sullivan told the Record-Journal.
The second edition of the cards includes 51 unsolved homicides and one missing person case. The cases date back to the early 1970s. The oldest case is from 1973, the stabbing death of Janet Couture, a 21-year-old woman whose body was found in her apartment in East Hartford. There is a $50,000 reward.
Hartford has the most cases in the deck with 17. East Hartford and New Britain both have six cases, and Bridgeport has eight.