Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced in a press release Friday the formation of a new cold case unit.
Yost said in the release “we can make a difference, even when years have passed since a murder or sexual assault,” and told citizens to “consider how DNA testing advances have unmasked, time and time again, violent criminals who got away with living among us for too long.”
The Cold Case Unit (CCU), will be housed within the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and will utilize a multi-faceted approach using multiple investigative resources and techniques. The unit was formed with the hope that by using modern criminal evidence gathering and analysis the CCU will be able to aid the law enforcement departments where the cold cases originated.
BCI Superintendent Joe Morbitzer said in the release “even if leads were thought to be exhausted in the past, applying current technology and new techniques may help solve old cases.” Furthermore, Morbitzer said this “is a service for all law enforcement agencies. BCI provides its resources to everyone from urban departments with a larger case volume to rural offices with limited resources – all can benefit from this true partnership model.”
The CCU will focus on unsolved sexual assaults and homicides and is currently aiding in the investigation of 11 crimes, ranging from 1966-2016 according to their website. The mission statement of the organization’s sexual assault unit is to:
- Bring to justice rapists and sexual offenders who remain free, potentially to assault more people.
- Ensure justice for sexual assault victims before the statute of limitations runs out on their cases.
- Aid local law enforcement agencies in closing unresolved cases and making their communities safer.”
Currently, The Ohio attorney general’s website lists over 2,100 unsolved homicides. While there is no number on how many rapes and sexual assault remain unsolved in the state, the unit notes that many sexual assault kits languish “in storage at law enforcement agencies across the state.”
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