JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two Jacksonville Sheriff's Office homicide detectives who helped crack two of the city’s most notorious unsolved cases were honored at a ceremony Thursday morning .
Detectives Margo Rhatigan and Glenn Warkentien worked on both cold cases: The 1974 murder of Grand Park food store owner Freddie Farah and the 1998 kidnapping of hours-old newborn Kamiyah Mobley.
Sheriff Mike Williams presented them with their recognition awards for their years of following leads. The two were also named police officers of the month.
News4Jax spoke with the two detectives about cracking the cases.
"You just never know when that one tip is going to come in," Rhatigan said. "You can't ever say it's going to be a dead end. You just get a tip and you follow it through to see where it leads you."
Advances in technology played a key role in solving each case.
For Warkentien, a tip came into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about Kamiyah, who was taken eight hours after she was born from what was then known as University Medical Center.
Warkentien followed the case to Walterboro, South Carolina. But after more than 2,000 tips, he wasn’t sure where it would lead.
"We found some documents that were fictitious. Then, I still didn't want to get my hopes up because I had been through it before with the DNA," Warkentien said. "Finally, when we got the DNA results back confirming that Alexis was Kamiyah, it's hard to believe."
For Rhatigan, the case of Freddie Farah was more than 40 years old when they got a fingerprint match with newer technology to Johnie Miller, a man working in New Orleans as a street performer, according to the Sherriff's Office. After than four decades of unknowns, an arrest was made.
"Whenever we can resolve the case and bring some closure to a family, especially something that's been going on for so long, that's great," Rhatigan said.
Each detective shared the same message for other families with unsolved cases: Don’t ever give up hope that one day, even years down the road, they will get answers.
In each case that the detectives were recognized for an arrest was made.
Gloria Williams is facing charges for the kidnapping of Kamiyah. Williams is accused of raising Kamiyah as her own daughter, naming her Alexis Manigo.
Miller is facing second-degree murder and armed robbery charges in the death of Farah.
Both are still in jail awaiting trial.