There are a number of TV shows, such as Cold Case Files, that bring unsolved cases to the public’s attention as investigative journalism.
Ongoing, unsolved cases take an emotional and mental toll on the families that continues to rehash traumatic events surrounding their loved ones, as well as police detectives and private investigators working on the case.
Solving cold cases is never easy. There is rarely a neat wrap up at the end, they can take years or decades to solve, and a lot of hard work and dedication.
In this post, I summarize two cold cases that have been recently solved.
Arrest made in 2008 violent sexual assault
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently announced an arrest stemming from a 2008 sexual assault. A truck driver from Tennessee, 57-year-old Calvin Kelly, was arrested and charged with three counts of rape.
In 2008, a woman flagged down a police officer on Highway 131 and told the officer that she’d been held against her will and raped repeatedly at knifepoint. Investigators said that they did not have any luck with the case, at least in the beginning. Cold case investigators in Kalamazoo worked with the Attorney General’s office to solve the case, and they’d been working on the case for a number of years, ever since it occurred in 2008.
It was not until 2012, when they formed a special task force that specifically looked into cold case crimes involving sexual assault that they had any luck. The evidence, and evidence seized in other cases, eventually led to Kelly. Currently in Tennessee, Kelly will be heading to Kalamazoo to face formal charges. He’s being charged with one count of kidnapping and three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The Attorney General went on to say he is seeking a “charge of VO-4”, which is for repeat offenders. This will require a minimum sentence of 25 years.
Man arrested for 2009 murder.
Larry K. Gonzalez was arrested for the murder of his coworker and roommate Corey Vann. In 2009, a driver found Corey’s body on the side of the road. He’d been shot in the head, and later reports indicated that the weapon had been a 12-gauge shotgun.
Gonzales and Corey worked together at Brunswick Cove Nursing Home, and the two were roommates. Corey called Gonzales on the night of his murder to say that his Jeep broke down. Gonzales said he would meet Corey at a repair shop, but that Corey never made it to the shop.
According to investigators, Corey’s Jeep was actually returned to the home just a short time after the police investigation into the murder started. In the vehicle, they found a scrub top stained with blood. Gonzalez claimed he had no idea how the Jeep came to the home, as Corey would have been deceased by the time it returned.
The investigators also found a reducer, which is a device someone could put into a flare gun and allow it to shoot a shotgun shell. At the time of the interview, Gonzales said he had a flare gun, but that someone had stolen it from the house. He had never bothered to file a report. Investigators also learned that Corey had made Gonzales the beneficiary of a $20,000 life insurance policy.
Investigators at the time, as well as the cold case investigators who took the case, immediately felt that Gonzales was the perfect suspect, but they did not charge him right away. In fact, it has taken cold case investigators the better part of five years to get the evidence in order to charge Gonzales. Gonzales is on his way from Texas to North Carolina where he will face charges.
If there is a cold case in your family that you want investigated, be very careful what private investigative agency you select in an effort to reopen the case. There are many highly skilled and trained investigators that handle such matters. There are hundreds that are not. The number one reason to proceed slowly and diligently in the selection process is that you usually only get one chance at reopening a cold case, especially a murder or missing person case.
Recently, we were selected to work our magic in a murder case in Texas. Unfortunately, we were the second agency retained. The first agency had so unprofessionally approached the law enforcement community handling the matter, that it took us almost a week to undue their misdeeds. Eventually, we prevailed and this case is now being worked after sitting in a desk drawer for nine years.