FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — According to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, there are nine unsolved homicide cases dating back to 1980, along with six missing persons cases in the county. As technology has advanced, Sheriff Rick Staly says he wants to see those cases solved and justice for the families.
Now he has a detective dedicated to that mission.
He is a one-man cold case unit, with one goal -- justice for families who have been waiting years for an answer.
"One case was as far back as 1980, so things like this will provide closure and that is extremely rewarding," says Master Deputy Andrew Cangialosi.
Cangialosi was selected to be the lead detective in the first-ever cold case unit for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. He says he is reworking each of the 15 cases, along with older sex offenses that have not passed the statute of limitations.
The spotlight back on cold cases is something Staly says he felt was important.
"I wanted a dedicated person to look at cold cases and see if we could solve them with new advances in science to not only hold the person accountable, but to give some closures to the family," Staly says.
DNA Technology like genetic genealogy -- which is the process of using the suspect’s DNA and cross-referencing available genealogy sites to identify relatives -- could help identify a suspect.
Also, picking out evidence that could be re-tested with the new methods is one of the top priorities for Cangialosi.
"We have to unknown persons cases right now and I think genealogy will help us uncover who they are and what happened to them," Cangialosi says.
He is also is re-interviewing key players in the cases because while the passage of time can make investigations more difficult, it can be an asset too.
Over time, relationships and friendships change.
"So friends of potential suspects may not be so close now and willing to talk," Staly says.
Staly and Cangialosi say that while cold cases can be difficult, they are also some of the most rewarding to solve.
For those who have information in older cases, they are always willing to hear the truth.
"We have lots of new opportunities for people to tell us what really happened," Staly says.
If you have information about a cold case or unsolved crime in Flagler County, you can call the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office at 386-437-4116 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-8477, and you will remain anonymous.
You can also submit crime tips through their website at www.FlaglerSheriff.com.