A Cold Case Investigation Unit webpage is now online, and is intended to keep the public better informed of cold case and missing persons investigations.
The webpage, dps.alaska.gov/AST/ABI/ColdCase, was also established to encourage people to come forward and help solve longstanding cold cases, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said in an Oct. 15 press release. The department is encouraging relatives of missing persons to contact Alaska State Troopers with information or to provide DNA.
“With the advancement of DNA technology, the CCIU and the Missing Persons Clearinghouse have solved homicides and missing persons cases by working with victims’ family members who’ve come forward to provide DNA,” the release said.
The webpage lists the names, case numbers, locations and the report date for unresolved homicide case victims and those who have gone missing under undetermined causes, the release said.
“In a sense, we’re offering this revamped webpage as a call to action,” Colonel Barry Wilson, Director of the Alaska State Troopers, said. “We’re hoping the public will be inspired to get involved and help put more of these cases to rest. Any new information, DNA as a family member or dental records which may be matched to newly or previously discovered remains that have gone unidentified, can bring closure to an investigation.”
Several cold case and missing persons investigations have been aided with the help of more advanced DNA technology, including the arrest of Steven H. Downs, of Auburn, Maine, for the 1993 murder and sexual assault of Sophie Sergie; the arrest of Donald F. McQuade, of Gresham, Oregon, in the 1978 sexual assault and murder of Shelley Connolly; and the identification of remains found in 1995 as those of Ronald Oquilluk, missing since 1987.
The Cold Case Investigation Unit was formed in 2002 to review and reexamine unsolved cases, some dating back as far as 1961.