Grant helps JSO solve cold cases

$500K from Justice Dept. applied to cases from 1990-2001

Published On: Apr 25 2012 04:46:39 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 25 2012 05:51:24 PM EDT

The U.S. Department of Justice handed out $11 million to cities across the country earlier this year, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office got a sliver of that pie.

JSO received a $500,000 grant from the Justice Department -- money that was to be used exclusively in solving cold cases, specifically in homicides or sex crimes from 1990-2001.

Sheriff John Rutherford and others at JSO announced Wednesday they are investigating hundreds of cold cases through DNA. All of that comes from the grant.

"Crimes go unsolved, the guilty go free for a lot of reasons. That doesn't mean we stop working that case," Rutherford said. "As of today, 173 cases in the initial reviews, 42 have been identified for follow-up by detectives."

"These cases are often forgotten quickly by most people, but they are never forgotten by the friends and families of the victims," said Wyllie Hodges, executive director of Crime Stoppers.

Hodges said Crime Stoppers also has a new smartphone app to report the crimes anonymously. Scanning a QR Code on the JSO website with a smarthphone will take the user directly to the new cold cases web page that has been set up.

Crime Stoppers is offering $1,500 for tips leading to an arrest in the cold cases that are homicides. That's $500 more than usual.

The Sheriff's Office is also reviewing 354 sex crimes cases.