Detectives Pore Through 700 Cold Cases

Police Hope Technology Leads To Breakthroughs In Frustrating Investigations

There's an inkling of hope for the survivors of victims of hundreds of homicides as the Indianapolis Metro Police Department's cold case unit reopens numerous unsolved homicides that have taken place over several decades.

The federal government gave Indianapolis police money to rehire four retired homicide detectives, who are taking another look at 25 unsolved cases or more each month.

From floor to ceiling, boxes of information on unsolved slayings are being opened, waiting for someone to write endings to painful stories of loss, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Cold case detectives plan to work back through more than 700 unsolved killings, homicides that date back to the 1930s.

"These cases aren't like they are on TV. You don't solve them in an hour," said Indianapolis police Detective Jim Strode. "You don't solve these cases by leaps and bounds. I mean, sometimes it comes by inches."

Investigators will look specifically for cases in which DNA evidence might be extracted, cases that, thanks to advances in science and technology, stand the best chance of being solved.

"It'd be nice to solve these cases. It would be nice to solve them all," Strode said. "In all reality, we will not do that, but we will solve some."

One unsolved case that Strode will reopen involves the December 1968 killing of Susan Haab, an 18-year-old Ball State student who was killed by a gunman who forced her car off the road and shot her four times. Haab's case stayed on the front pages for nearly a week.

"That was my first one, and that was hard to take," Strode said.

Mark Haab was in the 8th grade when his sister was slain 41 years ago this month. Haab, who teaches journalism at Warren Central High School, said he knows reopening a cold case comes at a price.

"You open these wounds again, read the headlines again, remember it again," he said. "We were becoming better friends than just brother and sister at that point."

Strode worked three unsolved slayings in his 18 years as a homicide detective. He worked the Haab case for six months straight -- a case that haunts him to this day.

"I had a lot of senior detectives that helped me work on that case and interview people," he said. "I mean I wanted to solve it. I want to solve it bad."