Unsolved homicides: Investigators hope new tips will crack cold cases

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Investigators will do all they can to solve a murder, but sometimes all the hours and determination to bring a killer to justice just isn’t enough.

“We track every homicide in Wichita, this is a stack of paper that lists all the homicides going back to 1975,” Capt. Brent Allred

But, KSN found out that officers and deputies aren’t giving up on solving cases, no matter how cold they’ve turned.

Many homicide cases in Wichita end up on the desk of Captain Brent Allred. As the Commander for the Crimes Against Person Bureau, he is involved in many homicide investigations, even those dating back decades.

“We track every homicide in Wichita, this is a stack of paper that lists all the homicides going back to 1975,” said Allred.

COLD CASES

The WPD has about 200 unsolved homicide cases, some not that old. Captain Allred says other cold cases date back to long before any of his current detectives were in their jobs.

“You take a case from 1975, those detectives who were on those cases won’t still be around. But they’re still important to us, said Allred.

Sedgwick County typically investigates far fewer homicides in any given year. The sheriff’s department currently has 15 unsolved homicides on their books dating back to the 1970s.

Sergeant Benjamin Blick says it can be a matter of week before a case is considered cold.

“I’d say after a week or after a month, after several months if there is nothing more to follow-up at that time then I would say that’s when it becomes a cold case,” said Blick.

Nationally, the clearance rate for homicides is 62.5 percent. Here in our community the numbers are much better.

SEDGWICK COUNTY SOLVED HOMICIDES

(Clearance rates for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department)

For Sedgwick County, the clearance rate was 67 percent in 2013. That year the sheriff’s office had three homicides, two were solved. The next year, three homicides and two solved again, 67 percent. In 2015 there was four homicides with three cleared, 75 percent. In 2016 and 17 all four solved, 100 percent.

WICHITA SOLVED HOMICIDES

(Clearance rates for the Wichita Police Department)

In 2013, there were 16 homicides in Wichita, the clearance rate was 75 percent. In 2014, Wichita police investigated 26 homicides, the clearance rate was 92.3 percent. In 2015, police had 31 homicides cases, it solved 96.8 percent. In 2016, there were 34 homicides, with 90.6 percent of them solved. In 2017. there were 38 homicides, 74 percent cleared.

CRACKING THE CASE

Captain Allred says WPD has a sold clearance rate.

“But, over the years we’ve done a very good job. It’s over national average on clearance rate we’re able to accomplish,” said Allred.

Both the Wichita Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office say they never give up on a case.

According to Captain Allred, any small detail or tip can end up being the turning point in a case:

“They heard about something. They have some information on a name, vehicle description or something like that,” said Allred.

Sgt. Blick says investigators hope to provide answers that family and friends need no matter how much time has passed.

“I think it’s very important to know what happened. Obviously, you know this person is no longer in your life. You’ll never speak with them again,” said Blick.

Remember, no matter how small it is a tip that could bring a killer to justice.

Tuesday night on KSN News 3 at 10, we’ll take a closer look at some of the unsolved murders that investigators hope could still be solved with any new piece of information.

CONTACT AUTHORITIES: 

Sedgwick County Crime Stoppers

Wichita Police Department Investigations

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Investigations


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