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Cold case squads growing in popularity

UPI News Service, 08/08/2006 

Cold case squads comprised of retired police detectives are growing in popularity, with many groups, including one in Colorado Springs, reporting progress.

The cold case teams, usually consisting of retirees volunteering their time or working for hourly pay without benefits, apply DNA and other scientific evidence to cases that went cold before such techniques were commonplace, USA Today reported Tuesday. The detectives also conduct fresh examinations of interviews and other evidence.

Police agencies nationwide "are recognizing that these old cases are not to be filed away and lost," said Max Houck, director of a forensic science program at West Virginia University. "Many of them can be rejuvenated. Retired investigators have time to go back and reflect on interviews and photographs."

A volunteer cold case team at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs has tied 48 slayings to a man serving time in a Colorado prison for the murder of a 13-year-old girl. The team's findings have thus far lead to one additional murder charge being filed against Robert Charles Browne, who admitted the killings to Charlie Hess, a retired FBI and CIA agent working with the sherriff's department.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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