Southeast Missouri above state average for solving homicides - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast Missouri above state average for solving homicides

(KFVS) - How easy is it to get away with murder in the Heartland? Highway patrol numbers from 2009 and 2010 put Missouri in line with national averages, around 60 percent solved.

But how good are investigators in southeast Missouri? According to local authorities and major case squad leaders, southeast Missouri is well above the average for solving homicides.

Why? It could be because both the people of our communities and our local authorities say they can't stand an unsolved murder.

"Our rate is around 93 percent," said Lt. David James of the Cape County Major Case Squad.

Lt. James says the squad solved 41 cases since forming in 1983.

"We have a lot of community involvement," said Lt. James. "A lot more people come forward to help police."

Lt. James says people coming together contributes greatly to their efforts. he says the Jacque Waller case is a perfect example. Yet it's one of three cases that remains unsolved.

"A lot of cases just take time," said Lt. James. "The CSI effect has had a lot to do with public opinion about how fast a case should be solved."

In New Madrid County, Sheriff Terry Stevens says the Southeast Missouri Major Case Squad based in Sikeston, New Madrid and Scott counties worked 12 homicides in 2001. Only one remains unsolved.

"I can think of a case where we worked 48 hours and went into the third day because we feel like that's just what you have to do," said Sheriff Stevens. "I'm never surprised to the point that I think these things can't happen here."

Sheriff Stevens believes hard work goes into solving cases here because many authorities are passionate about serving their hometown communities. He says that's why he will stop at nothing to bring closure to cases in New Madrid County, like the Scherer homicide of 1998.

"Are we closer than we were ten years ago, very much so," said Sheriff Stevens. "We however are not on the verge of taking anybody into custody. I wish we were."

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