Monday, November 15, 2010

Many States Issue Cold Case Playing Cards

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Cold Case Playing Cards
by Robert A. Waters

In 2003, during the early days of the war in Iraq, the United States created a set of playing cards listing the fifty most wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s government. These were distributed to American soldiers. All except ten of those listed were either captured or killed, including Saddam himself, along with his two murderous sons.

Tommy Ray, a special agent with Florida Department of Law Enforcement, decided to make up a set of Polk County’s Most Wanted playing cards and distribute them to inmates in the local jail. A 2007 article by Richard Morgan in the New York Times described Ray’s theory. “His hunch was,” the article read, “that prisoners would gossip about the cases during card games, and somehow clues or breaks would emerge and make their way to the authorities. The plan worked. Two months in, as a result of a tip from a card-playing informant, two men were charged with a 2004 murder in a case that had gone cold.”

Since then, several additional crimes have been solved by inmates or even by citizens viewing the cards online. Dozens of states and municipalities have now issued similar sets of cards. Some of these states are New York, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Colorado, and Louisiana.

Shown above and below are several cards issued by the state of Indiana:

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

1 comment:

kjo said...

In 2009,and at my insistence while trying to help solve my sister's 1993 murder, the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon put together a deck of these playing cards to distribute in the states jails. Within a years time, my sister's case was the first solved from the cards. Now other states are getting in on the playing card trend and I think it's wonderful. I went to the media on my own in 2005 and then the Cold Case bureau started working with me, but only then because there was absolutely no evidence in the case. The city is on the 2nd set of cards now, which I'm very proud of, because it has opened up not only another 51 cases from the original deck, but another 52 on the 2nd. And Plaid Pantry convenience stores have paid for the 2nd deck and is selling them in their stores with the idea that all profits will pay for a 3rd deck next year. AS well, local news stations have been committing air-time to cold cases for the last 3 years or so due to the conclusion of my sister's case as well. (Kimberly Dunkin-murdered January 1, 1993, Portland, Oregon)