Victims' Families Seek More Action on Cold Cases

A new Maine State Police unsolved homicide unit may only be about a year old, but families of cold case victims say they're already frustrated with their work.

"What have we accomplished?" asked Dick Moreau, president of the Maine Cold Case Alliance.

Moreau's daughter, Kimberly, has been missing for 31 years.

"We're working with a system that is broke," he said.

The Maine Cold Case Alliance is supporting a proposed law that would change how the Maine State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit operates.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Christina Riley (D-Jay), would require police to meet with families of cold case victims at least once a year to provide updates on the investigation. The law would also make police provide a press conference or press release on the case annually. There are currently about 114 cases being reviewed by the state police's unsolved homicide unit.

Additionally, police would be required to provide case information to investigative journalists.

If a case has been open for at least 10 years, the family could require law enforcement to seek help from a federal agency.

"This is about getting victims their rights," said Moreau.

He, and other cold case families, testified in front of the Maine legislature's criminal justice committee Monday.

Maine State Police and the Maine Attorney General's Office are opposed to the bill.

"[The cold case unit] has done an incredible amount of work in 14 months," said Colonel Robert Williams, chief of Maine State Police. "I think we should wait and see what the outcome is in another year."

Col. Williams points to recent success the unit has had, arresting a Farmington man and charging him with the murder of his son 38 years after the death.

"We're doing something right," he said.

Williams told the committee that the requirements in LD 1390 might compromise investigations, forcing police to provide too much information before securing an arrest.

He said the law would also put an unnecessary burden on police that could keep them from doing investigative work.

Lawmakers on the committee may decide to pass the bill on to the full legislature after they complete a work session.

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