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Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cold case team celebrates successes

12:02 AM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Homicide investigators openly acknowledge the first 48 hours is critical in solving any murder, but what happens when years pass by? The Cold Case team gets the call.

On Tuesday, a cold case investigation that had been ongoing for more than ten years ended in solving a 1984 case that involved the rape and murder of a local 10 year-old girl. James Leon Jackson, 60, is now behind bars.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Cold Case team is five strong and has unsolved murder cases on its plate that go back to World War II.

"Very challenging. Cold cases are very difficult to solve," said Sergeant Ronnie Booker, who heads up the team that he says solves one or two old cases each year.

Booker says right now, 1,400 cases are being worked in some fashion.

Families of Slain Children is a local organization that assists families looking for answers. Outside the group's office on Myrtle Avenue is a memorial that has more than 2,400 names of people, many local, who were killed in the city.

Beverly McClain lost a child to violence and helped found the organization that supports other parents who had children murdered.

"We should stand up and be the voice for these people," said McClain, who encourages people who know something that will help police to come forward with information.

JSO Chief Tom Hackney acknowledges that some cases will never be solved and that the passage of time adds to the difficulty.

He said time sometimes works for the Cold Case team.

"With years that have gone by since these crimes occurred people sometimes, not all the time, are a little more willing to talk to us," said Hackney.

Cold Case detectives say often what helps them out the most is someone coming forward with a tip, a lead that the person may think is not important. Detectives say that may be all it takes to connect the dots and solve a murder.         

First Coast News

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