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Mon August 5, 2013
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Cold-Case Task Force Formed in Rutherford, Cannon Counties

Tennessee 16th Judicial District Attorney General William Whitesell announces the formation of a cold-case task force for Rutherford and Cannon counties August 5, 2013 on Civic Plaza in Murfreesboro.
Tennessee 16th Judicial District Attorney General William Whitesell announces the formation of a cold-case task force for Rutherford and Cannon counties August 5, 2013 on Civic Plaza in Murfreesboro.
Credit WMOT

  MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Six law enforcement agencies in Rutherford and Cannon County are partnering to form a joint cold-case unit.

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Departments in Rutherford and Cannon Counties, along with police departments in LaVergne, Smyrna, Woodbury and Murfreesboro gathered Monday morning on Civic Plaza in Murfreesboro to make the announcement.

LaVergne Police Chief Mike Walker says his department has an old Jane Doe murder case he wants to solve, because of what it would mean to the victim’s family.

"We have not identified who that victim was. So there's some family out there somewhere - mother, father, child, sibling, grandparents - that has no clue what happened to their daughter or granddaughter, etc.  Hopefully, someday, with the help of this group, we'll be able to at least make a determination who that victim was and be able to provide a proper burial and provide at least some closure."

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department will provide most of the investigative resources. The department has a two-man cold-case team; one of the few department’s it’s size in Tennessee to have such a unit.

Sheriff’s Office Detective Bill Sharp says that, in his experience, perpetrators can't resist sharing their crime with someone.

"When we work these cases we find ex-relationships, and they end up telling us things the suspect admitted to. Obviously we need more than that, but that's usually the one thing that really trips the light switch on."

In announcing the new cold case joint task force, District Attorney General Bill Whitesell noted that the mid-state cold-case that proved to local law enforcement to the value of having such a task force was the resolution of the 1984 murder of MTSU freshman Laura Salmon in 2001.

Whitesell says there are about 20 outstanding cases between the six departments, including one unsolved rape.