CBI distributes special playing cards to inmates; agency looks for tips in cold cases

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DENVER -- The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is playing a new hand in the world of unsolved cases.

It may look like a game, playing cards, each featuring a different photo, dates and pieces of information.

“Its not a game,” said Audrey Simkins, Criminal Intelligence Analyst for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“Maybe it was a homicide with a gun.  Maybe it was a stabbing.  Maybe it was a sex assault,” said Simkins.

It’s no game to the loved ones of the 52 faces printed on the deck of cards.

To them, the stakes are higher.

“We want to make sure that if someone has committed a crime, that we are bringing them to justice. The family deserves that and so do we as citizens,” Simkins said.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is hoping justice, in these 52 cases, comes from tips or information from inmates across the state after they are dealt the cold case decks.

“Whether it’s because they want to clear their conscience and they're willing to provide a piece of information now or maybe they are in a jam and they need some assistance so they are willing to kind of you know, let that info out now that they weren’t able to before,” she said.

Unsolved cases like the Ace of Spades featuring a woman found dead in the trunk of her abandoned car, or a set of nines showing three victims shot and killed during a robbery of a Littleton bowling alley.

The big thing with cold cases is that time changes and so we’re looking for those relationships to change and hoping that someone now will bring that information forward.

The CBI said in other states – similar cards have helped solve 40 cold cases. And at a cost of just more than one dollar per deck – the agency said it’s worth the gamble.

“If you asked a family member that or if it was your loved one, I think you’d say, 'I don’t care the cost, I just want to know someone is working the case and that my person is not forgotten,'” said Simkins.

So far 5,000 of these decks have been distributed.

Authorities plan to distribute an additional 10,000 decks featuring different cold cases in the next year.

There are currently more than 1,300 unsolved murders in Colorado.

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