OSBI, DOC to use playing cards to solve cold cases

Team Radio Marketing Group - October 11, 2017 2:56 pm

During a press conference Wednesday morning, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Corrections announced a new approach to searching for leads in cold cases.

The OSBI has selected 52 cold case homicides, missing persons, and unidentified persons cases from across the state. Each of these cases is now part of a deck of playing cards to be sold to prisoners at several DOC facilities.

Prisoners often possess information on crimes committed by associates and others. OSBI is hopeful the cards will entice inmates to contact OSBI with information. That information could lead to a reward.

Money from the sale of the cards will go back into the program to purchase subsequent sets of playing cards with cold cases from law enforcement agencies.

OSBI ordered 5,000 decks, costing the agency $5,450 ($1.09/deck). The money was paid from the agency’s evidence funds, used to pay confidential informants. DOC will charge slightly more than the decks cost to recoup the expense.

Numerous other states have initiated this program with success. According to the playing card manufacturer, Florida state law enforcement pushed the cards out to prisoners and received 60 new tips on cold cases. One cold case was solved within a few months of the cards’ distribution. Colorado, Connecticut, and South Carolina have had great success with the cards as well.

The Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Anthropologist Angela Berg and Mike Nance, with the University of North Texas who is the regional assistant administrator for NamUs, worked to gather information from missing persons and unidentified victims in Oklahoma.

These two people and an OSBI special agent make up the committee that reviews cold cases to ensure each meets the criteria for the cards. Case criteria include the cases being homicides, missing person(s), or unidentified victim.


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