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Officials hope 'killer cards' gather info

January 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A newly produced deck of cards shows murder victims and missing persons. Investigators are hoping that card games will bring answers to these unsolved crimes.The playing cards will be distributed to inmates in San Bernardino County. They could be a source of new leads in these cold cases.

Detectives say it's one of the most high-profile murder cases in San Bernardino County. In March 1999, George and Linda Taylor, a Los Angeles County judge and his wife, were shot and killed outside their Rancho Cucamonga home. Ten years later, no one has been convicted of the crime.

"The investigators at the time ran every lead down, they did an exhaustive search in the investigation, and at the time there was never anything that would lead to an arrest," said Sgt. Frank Montanez, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept.

Now they're hoping this crime -- and 600 other cold cases in the county -- can move closer to being solved, because of a deck of cards. Each card has a picture of a victim and specifics on an individual crime. With these cards, authorities will be tapping a new resource: criminals in county jails.

"We know inmates play cards and they know things about homicides, and our hope is they'll say something that we can get the word out, provide information, and any information is information we didn't have before," said Sgt. Montanez.

From this point forward these will be the only playing cards inmates will have in county jails. They'll have to buy them, and officials are hoping an inmate will see something on one of these cards that jars their memory and allows them to come forward with vital information.

There may or may not be an incentive for criminals to come forward with information. The District Attorney's Office just hopes if they know something, they'll do the right thing.

"I would ask them to look at it, if this was your daughter, your son, your mom, your dad, some family member, you'd want people to come forward too," said Deputy District Attorney John Thomas, San Bernardino County.

If county authorities play their cards right, they'll hopefully get closer to solving many of these cases using criminals to help solve crimes.


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