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Cold cases alive across Colorado

Published On: Dec 26 2013 07:42:40 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 28 2013 12:01:17 AM CST

The murder of Jennifer Watkins is one of many area cold cases detectives continue to look into. Joe Dominguez reports.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The 17th anniversary of the JonBenet Ramsey murder is a stark reminder that crime don't always lead to jail time.

The 6-year-old was initially declared missing. She was found in the basement of the Ramsey's home in Boulder. The coroner determined she had been strangled to death. DNA evidence has ruled out more than 140 potential suspects in her death, including her parents, and John Mark Karr, a man who falsely told authorities he committed the crime.

Despite the results of this investigation, cold cases statewide are far from going dormant.

In 2008, the state of Colorado launched the Cold Cases database. Several Pikes Peak area cases are on the site, including Christopher Abeyta, Carmen Aguilera, Jennifer Watkins and Karen Aguilera.

But a 2013 yearly report by the Cold Case Task Force reveals funding for the unit passed by legislators in 2007 "has never come to fruition." The group also found that continued education for law enforcement and an increase in investigative and forensic resources at a state level could help the cold case effort.

The task force announced it has obtained money for 2014 training in several Colorado cities including Pueblo. That class is scheduled for March.

In Pueblo, a new effort was also recently launched by our news partners at the Pueblo Chieftain. Steel City Cold Cases is a collaboration between the newspaper, police department and sheriff's office.

In El Paso County, detective Jeff Nohr said heartbreaking statements from family members of cold case victims can haunt him.

"That victim and those families are just as important as the day that it happened so you have to continue to work them," said Nohr.

Nohr has been working cold cases since 2005. He said with each case, he waits to read the reports that have been written by other detectives until after he goes over the pictures that were taken of the crime scene and other evidence.

"You look at those things you try to figure out what can be done with evidence today that couldn't be done back then," said Nohr.

Long after the police leave and detectives hit the initial brick wall in the investigation Nohr said there are some people still hurting because of the crime. Nohr said he recently heard from the family member of a cold case victim, who was an infant at the time of the murder.

"She was just ecstatic that the Sheriff's Office still knew about the case, was still working the case and couldn't believe the detail that I could give her straight from the beginning," said Nohr.

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