BRPD aims to close hundreds of cold case files

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Police Dept. solves about 60 percent of the murders annually, which is actually higher than other comparable cities. The other nearly 40 percent however, become cold cases and build over the years. Now they plan to leave no stone unturned and start closing these cases.

Cabinets, drawers and boxes are all full of BRPD cold cases.

"We currently have 330 that date back to the early 60's," said John Dauthier, a homicide detective, who will now head the city's cold case unit.

"This department owes it to those people to find the killer of their loved one," said BRPD Chief Dewayne White.

Dauthier's mission is to find loved ones some answers, even if it is years later, and even if they have given up hope.

"It's the worst hurt anybody could even have in their life," said Diana Callahan, whose son Derrick Williams was murdered Nov. 2011. "I don't know what I could say to make anybody understand my pain."

"We don't want this to be a cold case. We don't want him to be forgotten," said Tonda Martin, whose 71-year-old father Joseph Martin was shot and killed January 2012.

"Really, I don't have that much confidence. I see these stories run all the time," said Cleveland Hernandez, whose son Danny Brown was killed Dec. 2011.

But Dauthier & BRPD hope to rebuild that confidence. Crime Stoppers has come out with a deck of cards with each card being a cold case in Louisiana. Two of them are BRPD's. Robin Gremillion's body was found floating in the LSU Lakes in 2000. Even though police said she drowned, investigators believe it was a homicide because she was found in only two feet of water. Twelve years later, her killer is still out there.

Eleanor Parker was last seen back in 1981. More than 30 years later, her disappearance is still a mystery.

The deck is the only deck inmates are provided in jails. So far, Dauthier said the exposure is helping. They're already working on a very credible tip on a cold case in the deck, and long term, the goal is to eventually empty out the drawers.

"We hope that our efforts going forward will bring not only a reduction in the number of cases that we have currently in cold case status, but to bring down the number that ever become cold," said Dauthier.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office also assigned a detective to their cold case unit about a month ago.

The public can play a huge role in helping close these cold cases. Anyone with any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You can receive money for your tips, and your name remains anonymous.

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