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Cold case school draws area detectives

Forty-five detectives from across the region attended training and compared notes on cold cases Tuesday at the first Unsolved Homicide Investigative Strategies and Resources course offered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Another 30 detectives were turned away after the class filled up, according to the AG’s office.

“Unsolved homicides are extremely challenging and frustrating,” said Roger Davis, special agent at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

This is part of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s effort to devote more state resources to helping local agencies solve cold cases, which DeWine announced in the fall. The effort includes trying to list every cold case on the office’s Unsolved Homicide website.

There were 166 in the fall, but more than 1,000 by January.

DeWine said that BCI experts would be available to help local departments with cold cases in the following ways:

• The Special Investigations Unit can review cases, assist with interviews, and provide follow-up support.

• The Crime Scene Unit can identify evidence for submission to labs.

• The Crime Laboratory can analyze evidence that has been properly preserved.

• The Criminal Intelligence Unit can digitize and preserve case files.

• The Cyber Crimes Unit can examine electronic devices like phones.

The initiative also offers training to local agencies, which are strapped for resources. The class in West Chester Twp. is the first of several regional courses planned throughout the state, and because of the demand, the office will hold another class in southwest Ohio, officials said Tuesday.

The class, held at the West Chester Twp. Police Department from 8 to 10 a.m., included case study presentations that were not open to the media. Officials with BCI said detectives were trained on several aspects of cold case investigations such as unsolved homicide methodology, initial assessment, protocol, and solvability.

A review panel also examined evidence in open homicide cases and presented recommendations. The panel included members of local law enforcement, BCI agents, BCI Laboratory personnel, an attorney general special prosecutor and unsolved homicide investigators and experts.

“You have hundreds of years of experience with investigators in the room, and sometimes something someone has done will lead to additional leads,” Davis said. “Everybody has different perspectives and different ways of doing things and a lot of times that can lead to additional ideas and leads that have yet been explored.”

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