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Unsolved Murders Under New Investigation
Jun 04 2006 10:00PM
A group of southwest Ohio law enforcement agencies is taking a new look at 18 unsolved murders, some from decades ago, with the help of a federal grant that funds genetic testing.

Investigators on the Montgomery County Cold Case Task Force are looking for DNA on non-blood evidence, such as sweat-stained clothing, chewed gum and sealed envelopes.

"I believe historical cases will be solved with this unit," said Ken Betz, director of the county coroner's office. "It allows us to do the legwork to re-interview witnesses, re-examine evidence."

The task force was launched in October and will operate through the end of the year with the $210,000 grant. Betz said further funding will be sought to support the task force into 2007.

The group includes the offices of the coroner, sheriff and prosecutor, the Dayton Police Department, the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory and the state attorney general. Similar cold case units operate in the Toledo and Akron areas.

"The hope is, you take a fresh look at some of these old cases developing new leads, new suspects that weren't there the first time around," said Bob Beasley, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

In Akron, the work of the cold case unit led to the indictment in February of death row inmate Donald Craig in the 1995 strangling death of 13-year-old Malissa Thomas of Akron. Also in February, Akron police said DNA evidence in the 1999 murder of 37-year-old Rhonda Jones was linked to Bouchard Kindall, 24, who was fatally shot in 2005.

The Montgomery County unit, so far, hasn't been as lucky. The group used test results to arrest 44-year-old David Wysor of Beavercreek in January in the 1985 stabbing death of John Guinn,20, of Dayton. However, a grand jury declined to indict the suspect on a murder charge and he was released.

Assistant Prosecutor Robert Deschler said the grand jury asked for more information, and the case remains open.

"Cold case investigators felt there was enough evidence to make an arrest," Betz said. "There was a variety of evidence, including DNA. DNA, like all evidence, is just a piece of the overall case."

Betz said the focus on non-blood evidence comes after local authorities, over the past years, already conducted DNA tests on blood evidence and entered results into a national database.

The results from non-blood items also can be entered into the database.

"We have an obligation to the public to pursue (the cases)," Betz said. "If there's any way, let's do it."



" The Montgomery County unit, so far, hasn't been as lucky. The group used test results to arrest 44-year-old David Wysor of Beavercreek in January in the 1985 stabbing death of John Guinn,20, of Dayton. However, a grand jury declined to indict the suspect on a murder charge and he was released." ??????????????

Why????????