Scared Monkeys Discussion Forum

Missing, Exploited and True Crime => Unsolved Crimes => Topic started by: Nut44x4 on August 30, 2008, 12:30:21 PM

Post by: Nut44x4 on August 30, 2008, 12:30:21 PM
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
August 30, 2008 Saturday

There's so little information on the Seven of Clubs.

"Virginia Leavitt. White female. The victim was found deceased in her apartment on 7-12-1985 in Fort Lauderdale."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement hopes these details and her picture in the third edition of "Cold Case Playing Cards" will be enough to get someone, somewhere to fess up, or maybe snitch.

The 52 cards were released Friday at a Miami news conference attended by law enforcement and relatives of crime victims.

"We're going to hunt you down and we're going to find you until you are off the street and until my sister's case is solved," said Rene Barrett, 59, whose sister, Leavitt, was 27 when her body was found in the Holly House Apartments.

Each card features the face of a murder victim or a missing person.

The decks will be handed out to inmates in all 67 of Florida's county jails and to offenders who are out on probation - a total of 157,000 people, said Addy Villanueva, FDLE assistant special agent in charge.

Officials say previous editions of the card decks, issued to state prisoners in 2005 and 2006, resulted in the resolution of two cases. They hoping to score better by getting the cards out to more people.

Leavitt's case is not the oldest one in the deck. That distinction goes to the 10 of Spades, Walter Stathers, a Coral Gables police officer slain in 1967.

The most recent case involves another law enforcement officer: Broward Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Reyka (Seven of Spades), who was killed last year outside a Walgreens drug store in Pompano Beach.

In between are cases from all over the state, such as the Three of Hearts, Amanda "Mandy" Dougherty, who vanished from her North Lauderdale home one September day in 1994 and was found dead two days later in Palm Beach County.

A number of relatives of William Smith attended the unveiling as well.

Smith, whose case is featured on the Ace of Spades, was severely beaten in April 1995 in the parking lot of an American Legion Post in Riviera Beach. He succumbed to his wounds the following month.

"I'm glad somebody's doing something," said his brother, Art Smith. "It's like we say in the advertising business: It's a sighting."

Villanueva said the cases were chosen because law enforcement officials across the state think there's a chance they could be solved.

Post by: Wyks on October 18, 2008, 11:08:33 PM
An interesting and unusual way to keep the faces of these folks out there.  Sure do hope that it helps to resolve these cases.

Post by: Nut44x4 on October 19, 2008, 10:08:06 AM

Photo Gallery of just one set...there are many now across the Country.

Post by: Nut44x4 on October 19, 2008, 10:11:42 AM
Criminal cases put on deck of cards

Last Modified: Saturday, August 30, 2008 at 11:23 p.m.

With every shuffle of this deck of cards, investigators hope they’ll be closer to solving a mystery.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a third deck of Cold Case Playing Cards this month.

More than 200,000 of the decks will be distributed to jail inmates and supervised offenders on probation with the Florida Department of Corrections around the state.

Detailed on each card is an unsolved murder or missing person case in Florida.

The cards show a picture of the victim or missing person and some information about the investigation.

By distributing the decks, authorities hope to generate tips that could lead to solving these cases.

The idea has paid off in the past. In 2005, authorities with the Polk County Cold Case Assessment Team decided to distribute a deck showing unsolved cold cases to local inmates.

Two months later, an inmate provided a tip on one case that eventually led to the arrest of two people in connection with a May 2004 murder.

The team had seen similar card decks distributed to U.S. troops in Iraq in 2003 with photos of Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi leaders.

Based on the cards’ success, Florida officials decided to put together the first deck showing cases from around the state. Two of the cases have since been broken.

Local cases featured in the newest deck include:

■ The slaying of Phillip “Brian” Sweat, a Gainesville man found dead at his home near Archer Road on June 27, 2005.

■ The death of Gayle Beall, who was fatally stabbed in Ocala on Dec. 9, 1983.

■ The disappearance of Michelle L. Otter, a 10-year-old Fort McCoy girl who left home on May 7, 1998.

FDLE, DOC, the Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, along with sheriffs and police chiefs in the state were involved in creating the deck.

Cases listed on the cards are selected by investigators and the Crime Stoppers program.

The public can purchase the cards through Priority Marketing at

Post by: Nut44x4 on October 19, 2008, 10:17:17 AM

The Playing Card Program: Missing Persons, Unsolved Homicide Victims and Fugitives from Justice. A partnership with DA Murphy and the Lyalls

Effective Playing Cards, which has partnered with the Lyalls and the DA have this message: "Our Crime Stoppers, Law Enforcement and Prison playing cards are custom designed cards unlike any other personalized playing card produced. Each card in the deck portrays another unique profile. These custom playing cards are providing new leads for Cold Case Files, Unsolved Homicides and Missing Persons in every area they are distributed. The remarkable excitement generated by our prison playing cards will also bring incredible media coverage and exposure to your specific program, unit or business".

Effective Playing Cards produced the first custom printed Unsolved Homicide cards with Heartland Crime Stoppers of Polk County, FL. Almost immediately after distributing these unique poker cards to the 2500 jail inmate population of Polk County, Florida, fresh leads into cold cases appeared. Special Agent Tommy Ray of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Cold Case Assessment Team stated, "It is like interviewing all 2500 inmates about 52 different homicides all at the same time!"

"We have produced hundreds of thousands of custom card decks for many Crime Stopper units throughout Florida and Texas. With the support of Crime Stoppers throughout Florida, we are now producing a statewide-customized poker card deck. This deck features unsolved homicides from across the State. Each inmate in the Florida Prison System will receive one of the 100,000 decks printed. We are in the process of compiling a similar deck for the State of Texas, and hope to expand this program throughout the United States.

We formed Effective Playing Cards, and our sister company, Effective Magazines at the request of Law Enforcement and Crime Stoppers units."

The Lyalls, as parents of a Ballston Spa woman who has been missing for nearly nine years, plan to create playing cards with pictures of missing people and victims of unsolved homicides from around the Capital Region.

The idea, Doug Lyall of Ballston Spa said Tuesday, is to get the playing cards into the hands of inmates at area county jails.

" They play a lot of cards, they have a lot of time on their hands," Lyall, father of missing University at Albany student Suzanne Lyall said. "When they play cards, they will be looking at pictures of missing people, victims of homicides, and unidentified deceased. We hope to spark a memory or spark some conscience. People in prison talk, some of them brag. Some inmate might have heard something."

People will be able to call in tips anonymously, Lyall said.

Suzanne Lyall disappeared after leaving her job at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland March 2, 1998. She's known to have gotten on a CDTA bus back to the University campus and is thought to have gotten off the bus at Collins Circle at about 9:45 p.m. She hasn't been seen since.

State Police are investigating the case as a homicide.

After Suzanne's disappearance, her parents Doug and Mary Lyall became very active in helping other families searching for missing loved ones and getting laws passed to better deal with missing-persons cases.

Doug Lyall said he and Mary got the playing card idea from a friend who works in the prison system, but the Lyall's aren't the first to think of it. Heartland Crime Stoppers, a not-for-profit that covers three counties in Central Florida, has been doing this since Sept. of 2005, Wayne Cross, Heartland Crime Stoppers executive directors said by phone Tuesday.
" It kind of came from those playing cards they had for the Iraq War a few years ago when they were looking for Saddam and his henchmen," Cross said. "It's our program and we're very proud of it."

Heartland Crime Stoppers is on its third deck of cards and has solved four homicide cases, Cross said."We have four more that are in various stages of being presented to grand juries down here," he said. Heartland distributes cards to 2,400 inmates a month, he said. There are similar programs in nine other parts of Florida, four places in Texas and one is just starting in San Diego. Cross said he hopes to start distributing the cards in Florida's state prisons.

Doug Lyall said the organization he and Mary have founded, the Center for Hope, can finance the first run of cards: 7,200 52-card decks for $1.75 a deck. Besides meeting with Cross in Florida last week, the Lyalls have enlisted the help of Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III and they've sent letters to area police agencies looking for cases to profile on the cards.

Lyall said he won't include a missing person without that family's permission.Saratoga Springs police are going through their files and hope to get at least one case, the 1980 killing of Shelia Shepard, included in the deck, Police Chief Edward Moore said." 1980 isn't too long to solve a homicide," Moore said. "This case is something we still look at, something we still work on."

Shepard, then 22, was found tied loosely to her own bed, gagged with her own blouse and stabbed with a steak knife in her Church Street apartment.Ballston Spa Police Officer Dave Bush said he wants a photo of Douglas Philips included. Philips, 52, of Milton Avenue in the village, has been missing since Sept. 23. Police know that someone used his ATM card Oct. 10 in the village, though, and fear foul play. Col. Richard Emery, the administrator at Saratoga County Jail said inmates there buy cards through the commissary and every jail in the state basically uses one of two commissary suppliers. All the Lyalls have to do is hook up with those firms, he said. He would have no problem distributing cards like the ones the Lyalls want to distribute, he said.


Post by: Nut44x4 on November 16, 2008, 06:58:39 PM
Indiana Cold Case Homicides Playing Card Decks

Post by: Nut44x4 on November 16, 2008, 07:04:35 PM

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Cold Case Unit began implementing a new statewide initiative regarding the creation and distribution of a cold case deck of playing cards.

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Unsolved Homicides Missing Persons Unidentified Remains Miscellaneous

Post by: Nut44x4 on November 16, 2008, 07:07:36 PM
Cards could help uncover cold case clues
TROY, New York (CNN) -- While inmates in jails across New York pass the time by playing card games -- poker, gin rummy and solitaire -- they may also be helping crack cold cases.

The idea is simple: Each of the 52 playing cards contains information about a murder, a missing person or another unsolved crime.

Inmates know information law enforcement agents don't, and as corrections officers can attest, inmates love to talk as long as it's not about their own crimes.

The program was started by Doug and Mary Lyall, whose daughter Suzanne went missing 10 years ago after she got off a bus at the State University of New York-Albany.

The Lyalls heard about a similar initiative in Florida where the cards, sent to state prisons and some county jails, resulted in eight arrests and one conviction.

Florida officials say they are close to releasing a third edition deck of cards.

Using money donated to their foundation, the Center for Hope, the Lyalls sent 7,200 decks of cards to New York's local jails.

"It just started to snowball, and we got momentum, and it took a lot of hard work, lot of phone calls, lot of foot work, but it's been worth it so far because we got it off the ground," Doug Lyall recalled.

The Lyalls know that the work, at times painful, is important. They are convinced that some of the cases will be solved.

"The strength I find is the fact this is a missing part of my life, and I need to find my daughter, and this is our job now. If you have no other job for the rest of your life your job is to find that child that is missing," Mary Lyall said.

Most of the cases featured on the New York cards deal with missing persons, but some show unsolved murders, some dating to the 1980s.

Inmates can provide information by calling a hot line. They're not required to provide their names.

Cindy Bloch, case manager at New York's Criminal Justice Services, said she's encouraged by the response.

"Prior to the playing card program being implemented, we had virtually no calls coming from correctional facilities," she said. "We now have 40 or 50 calls per month coming in."

Sheriff Jack Mahar, who runs the county jail in Rensselaer County, New York, said he replaced all the playing cards in the jail with the cold case cards.

"The people that are here live out on the streets, they grew up out on the streets, they know what's going on," Mahar said.

"Sooner or later, someone will hear, someone talks; it always happens whether it's two days from now or five years from now."

Even inmates think the cards are a good idea.  Watch how inmates have reacted to the cards »

"Murder's a big issue and kidnapping, you know, even though we're on this side of the fence, most of us don't like those things," said Patrick Devival, a prisoner in the Rensselaer County Jail.

Several inmates said the cards were disturbing to look at, especially when they were just trying to pass the time playing a game. But those CNN spoke to in the county jail all said they looked at them closely.

The Lyalls hope to get the cards in every state correctional facility as well as distribute a second deck with different cases. Right now, though, the county jails are a good start.
"We have a very high turnover, which is very good cause we keep on getting different people in here all the time, that would give some fresh ideas, fresh information," Mahar explained.

"We haven't had anything to date, but we have our fingers crossed every day."

more related links at the site

Post by: Nut44x4 on December 10, 2008, 09:11:35 PM
The San Francisco Chronicle (California)
December 10, 2008 Wednesday
Solving old crimes may be in inmates' cards;

Deal a hand and solve an old murder: that's what Alameda County sheriff's officials hope will happen now that 4,400 jail inmates have been given playing cards with pictures of decades-old homicide victims or missing people.

Each deck of cards features 13 cases that detectives have yet to crack. A picture of someone's loved one, along with details of what happened and promises of a reward, are printed on one side of the card, and an Alameda County sheriff's badge and a phone number for tips are on the other. Each case is on cards in all four suits.

Investigators figured that with a captive audience that already spends hours playing cards, someone might play the ace and drop a dime. It's like the "Have you seen me?" program on milk cartons, with a twist, said sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek, who announced the program Tuesday while flanked by relatives of people who were killed or who have disappeared.

Inmates are "always playing cards," Dudek said at a news conference at the county's Office of Emergency Services in Dublin. "They sit there and they're looking at these 13 cases over and over and over."

The hope is that a group of four inmates will play a game, then return to their two-person cells and talk about the case. The cellmates may not have tips, but they may know someone who does.

Alameda County has a contract to house both state and federal inmates, so those cards might do some traveling.

Some inmates might offer information in exchange for lighter sentences, Dudek said.

"Those people over there in that jail," he said, pointing toward the adjacent Santa Rita Jail, "they are our greatest source of information. You want to play cards? Go play cards. It's not a secret that inmates constantly are looking for deals."

But inmate Essley Green, 44, of Oakland, who has served about two years of a 15-year state prison sentence for robbery, wasn't so sure the cards would generate leads. Inmates rarely want to snitch, even in exchange for a reward or leniency, he said.

"It sounds good, but is your life worth that?" Green asked while taking a break from a card game with three friends in the jail's Housing Unit 3 on Tuesday.

"It's slim, but it's possible," Green said of the chance of inmate-driven tips. "If it solves one case, it's better than nothing."

Sheriff Greg Ahern agreed. Motioning toward families of the victims, he said, "It's just our way to tell these people and the public that the victims have not gone forgotten and their cases have not been just stowed away in a file."

The cards are modeled after ones issued to the public in San Diego and in Florida. But sheriff's officials said they didn't know of any other law-enforcement agency that passes them out to inmates.

The decks are being phased in at the county's two jails, Santa Rita and the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland, and are expected to last for a year. Officials will see how the program works before deciding whether to replace the cards.

John Lin held a large rendition of the queen of hearts card featuring a picture of his slain daughter, Jenny, and a description of how the 14-year-old girl was found fatally stabbed in her Castro Valley home in 1994. A suspect was identified in 2006 but wasn't charged.

"Anything like this will bring us hope," Lin said. "I'm just grateful that the sheriff's department is still paying that much attention and is working on it."

Georgia Ramm's daughter, Dana Ramm, 20, was found strangled to death on the side of Andrade Road in Sunol in December 1986. Ramm helped develop the idea of issuing the cards to inmates.

Ramm said the cards are a unique way to get a message to whomever killed her daughter, who would have turned 42 on Nov. 29: "You will not get away with this. You will pay for this, either in this life, in our court system or the next life. One way or another, you will pay for this terrible thing you have done." 
Officials hope playing cards featuring pictures of crime victims will spur jail inmates to share useful information. CBS-5 TV

Post by: Nut44x4 on January 08, 2009, 09:51:55 AM
Missouri State Highway Patrol announces a playing card initiative will begin on February 1, 2009

News Release

For further information please contact: Sgt. Jason Clark
(573) 522-0980
January 07, 2009

EMPHASIS: Playing Card Initiative

Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, announces a playing card initiative will begin February 1, 2009. This initiative targets inmates that are currently incarcerated in county jails and the Missouri Department of Corrections facilities. These customized playing cards will be distributed featuring unsolved homicides, missing persons, wanted fugitive photos, and case profiles with the hope they generate new tips related to the cases indicated on each card.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has partnered with the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Bass Pro Shops, and One Missing Link Inc., to provide these cards to inmates who may have crucial information that will assist law enforcement with many cold cases throughout the state. The Missing Persons Unit and Violent Crime Support Unit, within the Division of Drug and Crime Control, developed these cards, which feature cold cases from more than 30 law enforcement agencies and communities from around the state of Missouri.

Initially, 5,000 decks will be distributed to key areas of the state. It is our hope this project will develop new leads and intelligence regarding these crimes, which have affected families, communities, and law enforcement agencies throughout Missouri for many years.

Other agencies from around the country have distributed customized playing cards with effective results. We encourage any agency that would like to have a case featured on possible future decks, or would like to become involved with this endeavor, to contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Violent Crime Support Unit.

Post by: Nut44x4 on March 17, 2009, 02:30:55 PM
St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)
March 16, 2009 Monday 

Card in a 'Cold Case Deck' draws a tip that reopens disappearance of an Inver Grove Heights woman
The four of diamonds was a lucky card for Clohe Husby.

Her sister, Deana Patnode, of Inver Grove Heights, disappeared in 1982. The family had all but given up hope she would ever be found.

"It's been 26 years, and we never thought we'd have any answers," Husby said. "Every time we'd hear of a body, we'd call to see if there was a connection to Deana."

In the end, it was the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension's "Cold Case Playing Cards," distributed to jails and prisons across the state in October, that finally gave police and Patnode's family the answers they were looking for.

A tipster looking on the bureau's Web site at the playing cards, which feature 52 violent unsolved homicide, missing person and unidentified remains cases, recognized the facial reconstruction of remains found in 1989 near Kellogg, Minn. He e-mailed the BCA to say he thought the image looked like a neighbor who had disappeared when he was 10 years old.

He was right. DNA testing proves the remains were Patnode's. It's the first fruitful tip generated by the playing cards, authorities said.

"We're so thankful that (Deana) got to be one of these playing cards," Husby said. "Because otherwise she wouldn't be identified. I know that."

Husby said she hadn't seen the facial reconstruction or the card until investigators contacted her. But she acknowledged a resemblance of the image on the card and her sister.

The Ramsey County medical examiner ruled Patnode's death a homicide, but the exact cause of her death remains unknown..

"We're not sure yet exactly how she came to end up on the playing card," said Assistant BCA Superintendent Dave Bjerga of the circumstances surrounding Patnode's death and disappearance. "That's the next step."

Patnode was last seen Oct. 26, 1982, walking from the Buck Board bar on Concord Boulevard in South St. Paul to her home in Inver Grove Heights. She was 23.

Seven years later, mushroom hunters in Wabasha County found her skeletal remains in a wooded median of U.S. 61 south of Kellogg. The Wabasha County city is about 80 miles southeast of the Twin Cities.

At the time, there wasn't enough evidence to make a positive identification. A forensic artist in the early 1990s created a facial reconstruction out of clay, and a photo of the model was used on the playing card.

Authorities contacted Husby in December at her home in Spencer, Iowa. The results from DNA samples she gave weren't finalized until a few weeks ago.

She said the family still wants to know what happened to Deana, but identifying her body is a good start.

"My mom and dad passed away, and they didn't know what happened to their daughter," Husby said.

The family plans a memorial service in June and a graveside service when Patnode's remains are released.

The cards have generated about 70 tips since their release, said Tim Leslie, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Besides being posted online, the cards have been sent to 515 police departments and 75 jails, and 10,000 decks have been given to state prison inmates, Leslie said.

"This is the first time the playing cards have played a significant role in a cold case," he said. "But with all the tips generated so far, I'm confident it won't be the last."

There are more than 200 sets of unidentified remains in Minnesota, authorities said, and the bureau hopes to release another set of playing cards sometime in the future.

"There were a lot of deserving cases that didn't make the cards," the BCA's Bjerga said.

Post by: Nut44x4 on April 19, 2009, 02:44:20 PM
Cold case: Body found in Bothell was long unidentified

BOTHELL -- Science brought her home. So did persistence.

Jodi DePaoli's remains were discovered in 1988 in some woods near an illegal garbage dump in Bothell. It took nearly 20 years to determine the 16-year-old girl's name and return her to her family.

Police are still hunting for the killer.

DePaoli is part of the state's first deck of cold-case playing cards. Snohomish County sheriff's detectives created the cards last year in hopes of soliciting new leads in dozens of unsolved homicides and missing persons cases dating back to the 1970s.

DePaoli is featured on the jack of clubs.

She was killed more than a year before she was found. Snohomish County sheriff's detectives compiled a list of possible victims. DePaoli, a runaway, was on the list, but when investigators asked Seattle police about DePaoli, they were told she was no longer listed as a missing, sheriff's detective Jim Scharf said.

"We don't know if her name was removed from the system or if she'd run away, then was located and then ran away again but wasn't reported," Scharf said. "There are a lot of possibilities why she fell through the cracks."

Her family hadn't given up finding DePaoli. Her cousin called the Green River Task Force in 2003 asking if DePaoli was among serial killer Gary Ridgway's unidentified victims.

New technology allowed investigators to compare DNA samples from the family members of missing women against those of the remains. The DNA from DePaoli's family didn't match any of the remains found by the Green River Task Force. The family's DNA information was entered into the national database in 2005.

A few months later, Snohomish County sheriff's detective Joe Ward asked forensic experts in Texas to collect a DNA sample from the unidentified girl found in 1988 in Bothell. A match was made from the genetic sample taken from DePaoli's father three years earlier.

Jane Doe 1988 had a name, and 19 years and three days after she was found, her family laid her to rest, next to her grandmother and grandfather.

"There was relief especially when were able to bury her," her younger brother Mario DePaoli said. "The only better relief is someone being caught."

Post by: Lovinlife on July 02, 2009, 11:56:35 AM
MODS: I know there was a thread for this but for the life of me I can't find it  ::MonkeyWaa::
Lovin'~ I'm merging this article you brought on over to the thread Nut started on this topic.  Thank you for bringing it.

Playing Cards Generate Tips In Cold Case Murders
Posted: Jun 30, 2009 10:15 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 30, 2009 10:15 PM EDT
Crimestoppers is hoping a deck of playing cards can help solve dozens of cold case homicides. One murder case was solved this week, simply because a jail inmate decided to shuffle the deck.

Decks of the special playing cards are handed out to jail inmates by San Diego Crimestoppers. The cards feature photographs of local murder victims from unsolved cases.

"The goal the whole time was to have these cards in somebody's hands that would hopefully break the case," SDPD Officer Jim Johnson said.

That's exactly what happened this week, in the 2003 murder of two local women gunned down in front of Dr. J's liquor store in Lincoln Park. Police say a former gang member serving time in jail noticed the photographs of the victims, Sharen Burton and Carol Waites.

"We had a couple of witnesses that were playing with the cards. They knew some information about the Burton and Waites case and fortunately they decided to come forward at this point," Officer Johnson said.

The cards have been in circulation for about two years, and police have made arrests in four of the 52 cases. The liquor store shooting is the first case solved by the Crimestoppers playing cards.

"We've got 48 unsolved cases still on this original deck of 52 cards, and of course it's our goal to solve every one of these cases," Officer Johnson said.

One of the cases is that of Dewan Emerson, whose naked body was found strangled and mutilated in Southeast San Diego in 1987.

Another card features the unsolved murder of 68-year-old Jane Kling, whose body was found in Mexico in 2006. Witnesses say she was traveling with an unidentified woman.

Another playing card features murder victim Eddie Meram, the owner of Dr. J's Liquor. He was killed at the same liquor store during a robbery in 2003. His case is still unsolved, despite a $20,000 reward offered in the case.

"They're difficult cases, and we're hoping that anybody that has any information on these cases decides to come forward. That's why we printed these cards," Officer Johnson said.

Post by: Lovinlife on December 03, 2009, 08:18:35 AM

The Times-Union (Albany, NY)
December 2, 2009 Wednesday
Final Edition EDITION
677 words

One of the people featured in a new deck of playing cards that depicts missing people and victims of homicide is Jennifer Hammond, an 18-year-old from Colorado who disappeared in 2003 while selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door in Milton.

Hammond's remains were found near Lake Desolation in Greenfield and identified by State Police forensic expert Lowell Levine, who matched the teeth to dental records.

It was too late for Doug and Mary Lyall to retrieve 10,000 decks of cards, containing Hammond's photo and information as a missing person. But on the couple's Web site -- -- Mary Lyall placed the words "found deceased" across Hammond's photo on the 10 of hearts. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

The Lyalls have been active in missing person cases through their Center for Hope in Ballston Spa and have been the impetus for the playing cards program in New York. The couple's daughter, Suzanne, a University at Albany student, has been missing since 1998.

The first deck came out in 2007. This latest deck was released six months ago, and the phone calls from law enforcement around the country to the Lyalls asking for information on the program have been nonstop, Mary Lyall said.

The couple e-mailed a prosecutor in San Bernardino County, Calif., information on how to set up a program. Soon after the cards were distributed, the California authorities solved a homicide, she said.

In late 2007, the Lyalls presented the program to a conference of the statewide Sheriff's Association, and Westchester County got interested. The sheriff there produced a deck of 52 unsolved homicides in the county. In 2008, the deck was distributed to inmates at the county jail and within six months authorities had eight indictments and three arrests, Mary Lyall said.

The Lyalls promote the card program in the 57 county jails outside of New York City. Their goal is to introduce them into state prisons and New York City correctional facilities.

Recently, Mary Lyall was contacted by an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn who expressed interest on a federal level. Even a former Australian governor learned about the cards while visiting this country and called the Lyalls.

The new deck includes more missing people, 32 altogether. Others were missing and have since been deemed homicides and the deck includes a few Jane or John Does as well as repeats of missing people from the first deck.

The cards got their start in Florida. Now all inmates in local jails and state prisons get a deck free of charge. The cards are paid for by a surcharge on all fines charged in court.

The Lyalls' cards are made by Effective Playing Cards in Plant City, Fla. The initial supply of 7,300 decks cost $10,000. Because some of the same templates were used, the new deck came to $9,500, or 95 cents a deck, and was paid for by donations to the Center For Hope.

A vendor is purchasing the decks to sell to 27 county jails in the western part of the state. He pays about $1.20 a deck and sells them to the jail commissary for about $1.50. Inmates buy them from the commissary.

Rensselaer County bought 300 decks to sell at its jail commissary.

Post by: Nut44x4 on December 28, 2009, 02:22:35 PM
Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More cold-case cards will go to inmates

Playing cards with King and Snohomish County cases are being handed out.

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

EVERETT — More decks of cold-case playing cards are expected to be handed out in the Snohomish County Jail in an effort to generate tips about unsolved homicides and missing persons cases.

King County Sheriff’s deputies recently created a deck of playing cards similar to the one Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives put together last year. More than 280 decks of the King County cards are expected to be given to inmates here.

Meanwhile King County authorities plan to hand out 288 Snohomish County decks in their jail in Seattle.

Snohomish County sheriff’s cold case detective Jim Scharf also provided the jail here with 288 more decks of cold-case playing cards. The Snohomish County cards feature unsolved killings that date back to the 1970s and were the first in the state.

More than 4,500 decks have been handed out in jails and all the state’s prisons since Scharf and his former partner Sgt. Dave Heitzman created the cards.

Detectives have received a few helpful tips, Scharf said. None of those tips has led to an arrest, he said.

“We haven’t received anything earth-shattering,” Scharf said. “We’re hopeful and think they are beneficial and will continue to be beneficial.”

Scharf said some of the tips have come from other law enforcement agencies. Informants who have seen the Snohomish County cards have approached police officers they trust in other communities. Some of those tips have been helpful, Scharf said.

Detectives believe there are people who have information that could take killers off the streets and give grieving families answers.

Inmates are offered a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the dozens of unsolved cases.

Snohomish County detectives got the idea for the cards after learning that detectives in Florida had made several arrests based on information inmates provided after seeing similar cards there.

The Snohomish County cards are available to view on The Herald Web site at

Post by: piwannaberookie on June 01, 2010, 12:14:56 AM
Wow, I am amazed! I wonder how many inmates they will  end up paying $1,000 to. I think they would have to pay at least $280,000. If it were me I would do it for free that is solving an unsolved homicide, I am sure everyeone else in here would do the same!

Post by: Nut44x4 on October 26, 2010, 07:23:27 AM
October 26, 2010 Tuesday
Cold case files dealt new hand;
Playing cards, drink coasters distributed to generate leads
Nov. 6 will mark seven years since the horrible day when Tom Lucas' son Brian and three others were gunned down in one of South Carolina's most notorious unsolved slayings.

The shooting occurred at Superbike Motorsports, outside Spartanburg, S.C., and claimed the lives of Brian Lucas, who was store manager, owner Scott Ponder and two others: bookkeeper Beverly Guy and mechanic Chris Sherbert.

As the anniversary approaches, Tom Lucas and relatives of other murder victims and missing persons are hoping a new idea might spark fresh leads on cold cases such as theirs. They are approaching bars and restaurants to see whether management would be willing to use drink coasters with photos of crime victims printed on them, including a hotline number for people to call in tips.

For the past several years, playing cards with information about unsolved crimes have been distributed in jails and prisons nationwide in hope of generating fresh leads in cold cases.

Now, drink coasters with the same aim are being distributed to bars in Florida and South Carolina, says Dan Turner, founder of Effective Playing Cards & Promotions, which partners with law enforcement and Crime Stoppers agencies to print the cards.

"I think this could touch more people outside, in the general public," Lucas says. "My wife and I, we've been married 40 years. Our goal was, what can we do to help? Nothing is going to bring back Brian, but what can we do to help?"

Lucas helped persuade South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, and corrections officials to distribute playing cards in 2008. A $25,000 reward is being offered in the Superbike case, sheriff's investigator William Gary says.

"We've got evidence in this case, but not the right person that it points to directly," he says.

Participants in this month's Florida Association of Crime Stoppers state conference in Fort Lauderdale heard a presentation about the coaster idea from Wayne Cross, a Crime Stoppers coordinator in central Florida, Turner says.

Other victims' relatives are enthusiastic.

"I think it's a great idea," says Doug Lyall of Milton, N.Y., whose daughter Suzanne has been missing since 1998.

Suzanne Lyall, a 19-year-old University at Albany student, disappeared after leaving her off-campus job. Her case was detailed on the 10 of clubs in a deck of playing cards featuring unsolved cases distributed in New York jails in 2008.

"Restaurants and bars can be high-traffic areas, and people there like to talk," Lyall says. "Our belief is to get the word out as far and wide as you can, whether it's within the criminal element or the general population."

Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Glenn Elwell estimates that up to 20 other states are using such playing cards in jails and prisons.

The idea behind the coasters, he says, is similar to the one behind the playing cards: to help detectives find the break they need to solve a case.

"There's a lot of information ... that goes untouched, unheard," Elwell says. "Now instead of one person knowing what happened in that case, now four know and one of them might step forward.

"You never know what could be generated from a tip or a lead."

The idea for the playing cards began in Florida in 2005, where three cases have been solved since the first set of cards were introduced in the Polk County Jail, says Florida Department of Corrections Special Agent Tommy Ray.

"We put 7,500 decks of cards in that county jail, and within six months, we had solved our first homicide," says Ray, who came up with the idea after years of interviewing prisoners. He says he knew some of them who had information would come forward if given the opportunity.

In the cases where inmates reported tips based on the playing cards, Ray says, "they said to me, 'This could be my mother, father, sister or brother, and it was the right thing to do.' "

One inmate recognized a card's picture of Thomas Grammer, who was shot to death in his Lakeland, Fla., home six years ago. Two suspects have since been arrested in Grammer's slaying, Ray says.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has not studied the strategy "but any new or innovative tool that helps solve crime is a good thing," says Meredith Ward, IACP's legislative representative.


* In Indiana, the state has just printed its second edition of playing cards for prisons and jails, says Doug Garrison, spokesman for the Department of Corrections. "We have received tips based on offenders viewing these cards and they have advanced some of our investigations," he says.

* In Missouri, playing cards featuring unsolved cases were distributed to jails and prisons last year, then-colonel James Keathley of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said in a statement announcing the project.

* In Louisiana, the Crime Stoppers website has photos and details of the 52 unsolved homicide and missing persons cases featured on playing cards released in March.

Post by: Nut44x4 on November 24, 2010, 01:06:36 PM
CT  >

New Haven Register
November 23, 2010 Tuesday 
Prison playing cards may deal police a winning hand
Prison inmates will soon be playing cards with decks that contain photographs and descriptions of cold cases on them -- and law enforcement officials hope convicts will come forward with information that will get the cases solved.

The jack of spades, for instance, features William Smolinski Jr., 31, a Waterbury resident who disappeared Aug. 24, 2004. Police believe he was murdered.

The five of hearts shows Lisa Calvo, who was 40 and homeless when she was reported missing to the New Haven Police Department in October 2005.

The two of clubs has the smiling face of Alexandra Ducsay, who was 26 when she was stabbed to death while home alone in Milford in May 2006.

The six of hearts shows Gladys Punch, 72, and Warren Tarkington, 75, who were shot in St. Lawrence Cemetery in West Haven in September 1994.

The Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, in partnership with the state Department of Correction and law enforcement agencies statewide, created the cold case deck.

The 52 cards highlight unsolved homicides, missing persons and unidentified remains cases from around the state, including several from Greater New Haven. According to the Department of Correction, every tip has the potential to bring police a step closer to getting justice for victims and closure for their relatives.

Janice Smolinski of Cheshire, whose son, Billy, is the jack of spades, attended a press conference on the program Monday. Families of people on the cards made an emotional plea for information from the prison population.

"I think there are four or five other states that are doing this, and the playing cards are helping to solve crimes," she said. "When prisoners are playing cards, they tend to talk. There are so many unsolved homicides, and this at least is another avenue."

Smolinski said families are in tremendous pain, waiting for answers about where their loved ones are or who is responsible for their murders.

"These families are so sad, and if there is some hope an unsolved case will be solved, that is worth its weight in gold," Smolinski said.

The cards give a phone number for tipsters to call, 866-623- 8058, and many cards show if there is a reward for information in a case.

Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane estimated the state has had about 400 unsolved homicides since the late 1980s.

When choosing cases for the cards, officials tried to select a variety from all over the state, according to Kane.

"Somebody knows something about each one of these cases," Kane said. "Maybe it is something they don't even know is important, but it could lead to solving the case. We are hoping this generates information."

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said of the deck, "The state police are encouraged when any idea can help shed light on and bring any cold case to a conclusion. This is especially necessary for families and friends of victims."

Department of Correction spokesman Brian Garnett said Monday the cards are being distributed to 17 facilities. More than 18,200 prisoners will be able to see the cards and potentially provide pertinent information, he said.

"We strongly believe there is information among the inmate population that would prove instrumental in solving some of these cases," Garnett said. "The cards have worked in other jurisdictions, and we are optimistic we'll have the same degree of success."

It cost about $12,000 to create the decks, and Garnett said no taxpayer money was used. The project was funded from seized assets from criminal cases, according to Garnett.

To see the deck of cards, visit the Department of Correction at

Post by: Nut44x4 on December 15, 2010, 10:31:36 AM
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City) 
December 14, 2010 Tuesday 
Spokane woman hopes cold case cards solve killing

SPOKANE, Wash. ? Gossip is a valuable commodity in prison. So are playing cards. One Spokane woman is hoping to combine the two for a greater good. Rita Amunrud wants to produce decks of playing cards that feature details of unsolved homicides and missing persons cases from Spokane County and distribute them among inmates inside state prisons.

Each card would promise a reward for helpful tipsters. The cards were designed nearly three years ago, but supporters haven't raised enough money to get them printed. Now, as the 40th anniversary of her mother's unsolved murder approaches, Amunrud is trying to revitalize that effort. "It's going to take someone coming forward," she said. "What better way to spread the word than through playing cards?" Cold Case playing cards began in Florida and have also been produced in Washington for unsolved homicides in King and Snohomish counties. Police in southeast Virginia used $7,500 in donations last summer to distribute 10,000 decks. Jails in Washington, D.C., also distribute the cards. A Florida-based company, Effective Playing Cards, has produced more than 1 million decks in at least 12 states, Bob Wagner, the firm's operations manager, told the Washington Post. Police have solved at least 20 homicides and missing-person cases profiled on cards, Wagner said. Amunrud learned of the cards from Taryn Chambers, whose sister, Laurie Partridge, disappeared while walking home from Ferris High School in 1974. Partridge is featured on the deck's ace of diamonds. Amunrud's mother, Lura-Marie Ethel Ritchie, is the queen of hearts. Ritchie was 38 when she was found shot to death in a ditch about four miles northwest of Airway Heights on Feb. 19, 1971. A Spokane County sheriff's detective interviewed Ritchie's husband at a Utah prison, but no arrests were made. Amunrud believes the man, who was her stepfather, may have hired someone to kill her mother. She's hopeful a prisoner may recognize her mother's story or know where her stepfather is now. "They gossip more than women in there," Amunrud said. "That's what's going to solve it, if somebody somewhere has the information and they go, 'I need that money.'" Amunrud and Chambers worked with local law enforcement to design the cards, which feature 50 other unsolved Spokane County cases. Sheriff's Detective Mike Ricketts, who is investigating Partridge's disappearance, said the cards are often sold in prison commissaries. "People involved in criminal activity associate together and talk about things they've done," Ricketts said. "This could possibly generate more tips." "As many of these cards as we can permeate the United States with, the better," Amunrud said.

Post by: Nut44x4 on May 22, 2011, 06:07:56 AM
17 cards feature Jackson County victims, missing persons
photos at link

May 22, 2011
By Chris Conrad
Mail Tribune
Oregon investigators are hoping a recently released deck of playing cards detailing various murders and missing persons cases will help solve 52 cold cases and bring closure to families.

Jackson County cold cases are featured prominently, with 17 cards in the deck. The cases are focused in Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.

The deck is sponsored by Crimestoppers and Walmart. Each deck runs $5, with proceeds going to help solve cold cases.

"We can hope that someone sees these cards and it leads to solving one of these cases," Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said.

Agencies across the country have printed similar decks. The cards are distributed to Oregon jail and prison inmates, who might have some information about the cases, according to The Associated Press.

The Jackson County cold case cards include:

SNIPPED .... go to link

Post by: cw618 on June 30, 2011, 07:43:56 PM
the cards are working

Cold case cards" help solve 32-year-old murder
April 23, 2011 4:29 PM

(AP)  SEATTLE — A tip generated by a deck of "cold case" playing cards has helped solve a killing that occurred more than three decades ago, investigators said.

A 57-year-old Seattle man was arrested Friday night at his home and booked for investigation of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Susan Schwarz, 22, who was killed in her home near Lynnwood, about 15 miles north of Seattle, on Oct. 22, 1979.

Post by: Nut44x4 on August 01, 2011, 02:42:46 PM
Unsolved 1988 Sheboygan County double murder featured on prisoner playing cards
One of the most high-profile unsolved murders in Sheboygan County history is getting a unique kind of publicity as part of a playing card set distributed to prisoners throughout Wisconsin.

The 1988 murders of Eddie and Frances Cizauskas have remained unsolved despite a local publicity push beginning in 2008. Investigators asked for the public’s help after new technology and information brought them closer to solving the case.

The bodies of Eddie Cizauskas, 75, and his 73-year-old wife Frances, were discovered Nov. 30, 1988, in a barn used to store salvage parts at the couple’s Town of Sheboygan business, Eddie’s Jalopy Jungle, 2215 Mill Road. Investigators at the time said the murders occurred during a robbery attempt.

Capt. Dave Adams of the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department has said detectives know who killed the couple, but they so far lack the evidence to prove it.

Post by: Nut44x4 on August 01, 2011, 02:47:00 PM
Playing cards serve pivotal role in solving 1993 cold case murder

Submitted by KATU Communities Staff
Friday, July 8th, 2011, 1:01pm
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The man who shot and killed a 30-year-old woman inside her car in 1993 pleaded guilty to murder July 7.
Brad Richard Ballantyne, 37, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the shooting death of Kimberly Jean Dunkin.
At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 1, 1993, Dunkin was found shot to death inside the driver's seat of her blue 1973 Chevrolet Camaro parked in front of 4927 Northeast Skidmore Street. An autopsy determined Dunkin died from a gunshot wound to her head.
Cold Case Homicide Detectives began examining this case in 2008. Dunkin's unsolved homicide was featured in a set of playing cards that are distributed throughout correctional facilities in Oregon. A tip directly related to the playing cards was given to detectives that ultimately helped lead to the arrest of Ballantyne in July of 2010.  ::snipping2::

Dunkin's sister, Karin Dunkin, regularly contacted members of the Cold Case Homicide Unit and members of the Portland media during the past several years. Police said the family never gave up hope and that their tenacity was also critical to the successful resolution of Dunkin's case.
As a part of the plea negotiation, the family had the opportunity to confront Ballantyne privately in a jury room on the 5th Floor of the Multnomah County Courthouse. The family handled this encounter with such passion, restraint, grace, and class, that Sergeant Paul Weatheroy, the supervisor of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, said, "I have never seen anything like this in my 25 year law enforcement career."
In May 2009, Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement agencies announced the release of decks of playing cards featuring homicide cases that have gone cold. Featured on each card is a different homicide cold case from the Portland Police Bureau and Sheriff's Offices from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark Counties. Modeled after similar programs in Florida and Los Angeles, the decks of playing cards purchased by Crime Stoppers are sold in all State and Federal correctional facilities in Oregon as well as county jails in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Clark Counties.

Post by: Nut44x4 on August 01, 2011, 02:48:52 PM
Kimberly Dunkin...................RIP

from link above

Post by: Nut44x4 on April 12, 2017, 07:45:34 PM

Connecticut releases 4th deck of cold case playing cards for inmates
POSTED: 04/11/17, 1:55 PM EDT

The fourth edition of “cold case” playing cards soliciting information about unsolved homicides and missing person cases is now available to inmates throughout the Connecticut correctional system.

The playing cards were produced by the Cold Case Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney in conjunction with the Department of Correction and other law enforcement agencies working to solve cases that have gone “cold,” or unsolved for a prolonged period of time, according to a release.

Arrests or convictions have occurred in 20 of the cases featured on the previous three decks of cards, including several cases where arrests followed tips received because of inmates seeing the cards, officials said.

Cold case investigators have received more than 675 tips since the first deck was introduced more than six years ago, according to the release.  ::snipping3::

Although the cards are not available for sale to the public, all four editions can be seen on the website of the Department of Correction or the Division of Criminal Justice. The public is encouraged to view the cards and share any information they might have about any of the cases. Information may be submitted by telephone at 1-866-623-8058, by email at or by regular mail at P.O. Box 962, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.

Each card in the deck of 52 features a photograph and brief details about an unsolved homicide or missing person case and lists telephone, mail and e-mail contacts inmates can use to provide information.

The cases featured on the cards are generally changed in subsequent decks to allow for the maximum number of cases to be circulated through the correctional system, although some cases have been featured a second time to include updated information, most notably the identity of a previously unidentified victim, according to the release.  ::snipping3::