JACKSONVILLE, FL- Behind a steel door, locked away in a restricted area of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, sits the cold case files. More than 1,400 case files dating as far back as 1931.
"Basically in here are years and years of files," explains Sgt Dan Janson, a member of JSO's Cold Case Unit.
In every binder is the story of someone’s loved one.
"It is hard to satisfy a family when their case is unsolved, but I want them to know that we do care and we will follow up on every tip," says Sgt Janson.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit is working on digitizing all of the files for safe keeping and quicker access, but also taking the cases out of this room and into the public.
That’s where Project: Cold Case comes in, Ryan Backmann’s father was murdered in 2009, his murder is still unsolved. So Ryan channeled is grief into making a database of unsolved murders open and searchable by the public.
"There are some arrests in cases that we’ve spotlighted," tells Backmann in his office Downtown.
"He brings attention to these cold cases that have sat on the shelf for years and years," says Sgt Janson.
The first-of-its-kind nonprofit and JSO working hand in hand, making it easier for the public to search cold cases and most importantly, connecting witnesses or tipsters to law enforcement.
"If you were at a club one night and you saw something, but you don’t remember the date, you don’t remember the victim’s name, you really don’t know anything about it other than the address or other than the zip code. We wanted you to be able to search that way," explains Backmann.
Because with advancing technology, even the smallest tip can lead to a major break in the case.
"Whenever a tip comes in we follow it up. We follow up all that information and that is how Kamiyah Mobley got solved 18 years later. She was 8 hours old when she was taken from a hospital, 18 years later here we have her and it was based on a DNA hit and a tip that we got," tells Sgt. Janson.
A project and partnership of importance because every face on the site and every file in the vault is connected to a family that is waiting for justice and answers.
"Keep fighting and keep publicizing your loved ones case and hope that one day that call comes," tells Backmann.
Visit www.ProjectColdCase.org to search the database and check back frequently because cases are still being added.
If you have information on an unsolved murder please call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS or call the non-emergency number for JSO at 904-630-0500.