Collier sheriff sets plans to spotlight, hopefully clear, unsolved homicides

Collier County cold cases revisited

Investigating the Metts and Melody Gay cases ...

— In an effort to generate new leads into some of the agency’s most difficult unsolved crimes, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is making a renewed effort to highlight cold cases online and in the media.

The Sheriff’s Office is also taking steps to improve the way it reports cleared cases to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which in turn reports them to the FBI.

The changes come on the heels of a recent Scripps Howard News Service and Daily News series focusing on unsolved homicides in Southwest Florida and across the country.

“The ultimate goal is to bring justice to these victims and the families they’ve left behind,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Karie Partington said.

Starting in June, the Sheriff’s Office will feature a cold case profile every month, Partington said. They’ll do a variety of cold cases, including homicides and missing persons, and will work with local media to raise awareness.

In the coming months, the Sheriff’s Office will expand the cold case section of its website, and promote that section. Staff also plans to start a cold case page on Facebook, a step that few other law enforcement agencies have taken, Partington said.

“All we need is the right person to look at it,” she said. “The more people that look at that, the more likely the person that has the right information will see it.”

Starting this year, in an effort to keep more accurate records with state and federal agencies, the Sheriff’s Office is changing the way it reports cleared homicides to the FDLE.

In the past, the Sheriff’s Office only reported cleared homicides the same year they occurred. A homicide that occurred in 2005, for instance, was only being recorded as cleared if it was solved in 2005. As a result, the agency’s clearance rate looks lower than it actually is, sheriff’s officials said.

Between 1980 and 2008, Collier County law enforcement agencies cleared 57 percent of 360 reported homicides — the third lowest in the Florida, according to FBI statistics.

Capt. Chris Roberts, who heads up the Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes Division, said they learned through recent research that they could report a homicide as cleared in the year it was solved. If that 2005 homicide was cleared in 2006, they could have reported it as cleared in their 2006 numbers.

Unfortunately, Roberts said, the Sheriff’s Office can’t change its numbers retroactively.

“We’ll send a letter (to FDLE) that will be placed in our file, indicating that we didn’t report subsequent years’ clearances until 2010,” Roberts said.

* * * * *

COLD CASE CHRONICLES: SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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COLD CASE CHRONICLES: THE STATE AND NATION

Cold Case Chronicles:Murders more likely to go unsolved in Florida’s major cities

Cold Case Chronicles: In a third of U.S. homicides, killer gets away with murder

Cold Case Chronicles: U.S. murders often get solved along racial, age lines

Cold Case Chronicles: Relative considers taking justice into his own hands

Cold Case Chronicles: Some U.S. police departments fail to report murder case status

Cold Case Chronicles: One in nine Americans knows victim of unsolved homicide

Cold Case Chronicles: Many ‘best practices’ improve homicide investigations

_ Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan-mills/

© 2010 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

francine4747 writes:

in response to happybutterfly1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I must agree with you, They will never follow rules or complete what they need to do, they like to beat handicap children. Can't wait to hear about this in the paper when it comes out...ccso and showcap if you are going to lie remember to at least stick with your first story and not change it, you will always look like a a** to the DA and have no credit in the future...reports after reports glad you can push paper and get paid.

mothernature writes:

in response to francine4747:

I must agree with you, They will never follow rules or complete what they need to do, they like to beat handicap children. Can't wait to hear about this in the paper when it comes out...ccso and showcap if you are going to lie remember to at least stick with your first story and not change it, you will always look like a a** to the DA and have no credit in the future...reports after reports glad you can push paper and get paid.

Ummm, a clearance is a clearance. Is this more gobbledygook double-talk? Me thinks so.

ReginaF6501 writes:

You are all too critical; give the ccso a chance to do their job. Stop being so critcal and more supportive of the people trying to do their job.

francine4747 writes:

in response to mothernature:

Ummm, a clearance is a clearance. Is this more gobbledygook double-talk? Me thinks so.

No it is not, in the end it all comes out. Look how long it has taken, and you are Mothernature don't think so...You can think all you want but others would agree :)

savethewhalz writes:

Unsolved homicides? Perhaps the Sheriff will start with a no brainer task in his desire to clean up business embarrassing the CCSO. Maybe ask the FBI to investigate the likely murders of Felipe Santos and Terrence Williams by one of their own. Tell the FBI we failed to recognize that the missing men were arrested by the same deputy then both released at a Circle K to disappear forever. Tell the FBI after several complaints, a lawyer in St. Petersburg Florida connected the dots. Afterward the Sheriff finally showed some interest explaining it an extreme coincidence Tell the FBI that the deputy was the last person to see both men alive after arresting them soon later failed a lie detector test regarding the circumstances. The explanation is more ludicrous than can be imagined. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05/29/new...

beetlejuice writes:

Investigating........doughnut break.........investigating....chatting....who has twinkies???? Doughnuts....TWINKIES....coffee...half price lunches with six deps @ a time.
If they solve ANYTHING...it will be hunger pains...not crimes.

titanbite writes:

They simply fire their own when there's overwhelming circumstantial evidence leading toward foul play being involved,the Santos and Williams disappearances haven't been solved and it seems there was a Deputy involved in these two,eerily similar,disappearances.

Now it's time to "Clear the air" about cold cases,if they don't begin the effort to solve some of these unsolved cases with the disappearance of these two men,they should give up the attempt altogether.

No one trusts them.

ISEETHRUYOU writes:

Looks like the sheriffs office is trying to create its own GOOD news in light of the BS that comes out of their place. I tend to think if the cold case articles did not see the light of day neither would these attempts to close the cases either. Damage control is not going to work, we see what is going on at the sheriffs office.

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