Tulsa County Sheriff Announces New Cold Case Task Force

Monday, June 6th 2016, 10:57 pm
By: News On 6

Fifty unsolved murder cases are getting a fresh look, thanks to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Task Force.

The initial leg of the work is expected to take three to four months and investigators hope it brings grieving families closure.

June 6th marks 18 years since Dena Dean's murder. Had she lived, she'd be 34.

Her dad, Larry Dean, said it's tough, but it's getting easier.

"I know a lot of families don't get their children home. I got Dena home. If I hadn't I would be in a basket case," he said.

The Dean family's case is one of 50 the newly created Tulsa County Sheriff's Cold Case Task Force will reopen. The task force is made up of volunteers from the Tulsa Police Department and sheriff's office.

"I am thrilled to death. I think a new set of eyes…we've got several experts up on that stage," Dean said.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said, "The immediate goal of this task force is to arrange these cases by solvability. To identify potential witnesses, suspect and items of evidence that need to be tested or retested using updated technology."

It could take three months to organize the cases in terms of solvability. Following that, the task force will work with the crime prevention network to distribute case synopsis pamphlets, in the hopes of getting new tips on the unsolved cases.

Dean said, "I just hope this task force does what Vic wants it to do. And I think, the knowledge that’s there, it's going to happen. Six months, a year, it doesn't matter, get answers on anybody's case, not just mine, and it's worth the trouble."

Investigators will be looking for all the help they can get in solving cold cases, even using the help of inmates.

Regalado said the jail is ground zero for a multitude of crimes, including murder

Many of the inmates have information that could be helpful in solving the crimes.

Sometime during the year the jail will start allowing inmates to buy specially equipped cell phones to submit tips.

"We are going to attach the Crimes Stoppers app to it, so inmates who choose to buy these cell phones will already have this app and be able to look at it and there will be a spot for cold cases," Regalado said.

The public will also be able to download the app and submit tips.