Sheriff Tony: Cold Cases Open and Unsolved

A Message from Sheriff Gregory Tony:

Cold cases, by their very name, are crimes that remain unsolved. Investigating these cases takes patience, tenacity and innovative thinking. At the Broward Sheriff’s Office, unsolved crimes will never be placed on the shelf or forgotten, and the passage of time will not delay our quest for justice.

In 2019, BSO created a full-time Cold Case Unit, whose primary function is to investigate unsolved homicides and sex crimes. The cases date back to 1963; today, about 350 remain open.

The trails of these investigations might have gone cold, but the pain for the families never goes away. The detectives investigating these crimes work tirelessly for the victim’s loved ones, never giving up the search for that one clue that could help lead us to solve these crimes. 

Making progress on these cases can be challenging; however, significant technological advances have helped immensely. Thirty years ago, DNA testing was in its infancy. Today, we can retest physical evidence to identify potential suspects and link them to a crime. Progress in fingerprint identification has also come a long way. Even minute, unique details of an individual fingerprint can be discerned by new programs, leading to faster and more accurate identification.

Elvin Villalobos

Last year, the BSO Cold Case Unit, working with the Miami Police Department, Brazilian National Police and U.S. federal agencies, tracked down the man responsible for the brutal murders of three South Florida women decades ago through DNA and fingerprint technology. The resolution of the case received worldwide attention. However, it is only one of the eight cases the BSO Cold Case Unit has solved since its inception.

To bring more exposure to these investigations, we launched a cold case video series to uncover possible new leads. The first episode details a North Lauderdale mother and daughter who were shot and killed in their bed in 2017. In another, a Pompano Beach-based American Airlines pilot was shot nine times at his front door in 2011. The latest episode explores the brutal murder of Jerri Emken in 1985, who was found dead at the Pompano Beach bar where she worked. While the murders remain unsolved, detectives hope the series will jog a memory and result in new leads bringing resolution to these cases. I encourage you to take some time to view this series on the Broward Sheriff’s Office YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BrowardSheriffsOffice.

You, too, can help bring a critical clue to one of our cold cases. Broward Crime Stoppers is a vital resource for submitting tips resulting in successful outcomes. Even the most minor clues, something someone saw, heard or remembered, can result in a new lead. Anyone with information on unsolved cases is asked to contact the Broward Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at (954) 321-4200 or Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) to report a tip anonymously.

Service Equals Reward

Sheriff Gregory Tony

Certain Broward cities like Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Plantation, Davie, Margate, Miramar, Lauderhill, Lighthouse Point, and Coral Springs maintain their police departments; however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities: Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.

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