Captain Billy Downey is the head of the newly established Cold Case Unit for the Gaston County Police.The team works to clear unsolved homicides from years gone by.
“We have 10 cases, I would say probably half of the cold cases that we know, or we have a pretty good idea who killed, who did the homicides, uh, but we can’t prove it,” Downey said.”So we’ve always had detectives assign cold cases. So every detective in the unit has either one or two cold cases and they work on them as they can.”
They use old newspaper articles, crime scene photos, and in some cases of police handwritten reports that can be hard to decipher, to try to bring family members closure. Many times the officer involved, or witnesses, have passed on. In one case the scene of the crime,a business, has been demolished.
“These victims are still hurting. Even these cases are 10, 20, in some cases, 50 years old. And it still hurts. So it’s good to know or let them reassure them that we’re trying to get them some closure,” Downey said.