Indiana cold case cards bring thousands of tips, no arrests

Officials hope cards lead to cold case arrests

INDIANAPOLIS - Two years after Indiana put more than 100 unsolved murders on playing cards, none of those cases has been solved, but officials say the program is still a success.

Indiana is one of several states to issue decks of cards patterned after the deck the Army used in 2003 in the hunt for officials of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Indiana published two decks in 2010, covering 97 "cold case" killings and seven missing-persons cases believed to involve foul play, RTV6 newsgathering partner WIBC reported

See: Cold case playing cards

Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said the decks haven't produced any arrests, but that they have fulfilled their main purpose by generating thousands of new leads to enable investigators to rekindle dormant investigations.

Garrison said the cards are a way to remind victims' families that authorities haven't forgotten about them.

The cards' circulation is limited to law enforcement and prisons, where they're the only cards available in the commissary.

Garrison said the people most likely to have information about an unsolved crime are people behind bars for something else.

Each card includes a brief summary of the case and a photo of the victim.

More than half the victims in the two decks are from Marion County, including four cards devoted to the notorious Burger Chef slayings of 1978.

But the cards include cases from 28 other Indiana counties, dating back to the 1971 shooting death of John Terhorst near Eagle Village in Boone County.

Officially, one of the 104 cases was solved before the decks were ever issued. Karen Jo Smith disappeared from her Indianapolis home in 2000. Her ex-husband was convicted of her murder in 2004, but Smith's body has never been found, and the plea for tips on finding her remains is the 10 of spades in the second cold-case deck.

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