Longtime Cape Girardeau detective knows retirement means leaving cold cases unsolved

Longtime Cape Girardeau detective knows retirement means leaving cold cases unsolved

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Retirement is something many of us look forward to.

However, for one longtime Cape Girardeau Detective, ending his career means leaving long-standing mysteries unsolved.

"Well obviously I've never been retired before, but I do have mixed emotions about leaving," Jimmy Smith said.

When Smith finally hangs up his badge this week after 30-plus years at the Cape Girardeau Police Department, he will have to put aside the cold cases he's spent the latter part of his career trying to solve.

"It's very, very difficult for me knowing about the cases and knowing the families and becoming friends with some of those family members to walk away from that," he said.

One of those cases, the 1960 unsolved homicide of Cub Scout Darrell Allen, led to the development of Heartland Unsolved.

Smith helped us reenact the 55-year-old crime back in February and said the report generated tips that reinforced his interest in two men he's talked to before.

"My personal opinion is that they are a little bit concerned that charges may be brought, but that's not going to happen," he said of those two men.

In the early 1990s, Smith became interested in five unsolved murders in Cape Girardeau that happened between 1977 and 1982.

He said he felt strongly the violent deaths of Brenda and Mary Parsh, Sheila Cole, Margie Call and Mildred Wallace were somehow connected.

Smith joined in the effort to crack the cold cases and found himself on a path that ended with one man, Timothy Kracjir.

What was it like for you to meet with him face to face and to hear him at some point finally admit to those crime, we asked.

"It's hard to put into words," Smith replied. "He appeared to me to be just a worn out old man at that time. He still remembered very vivid details of what he did to each victim although it had been some time 30 years ago."

Smith's work to close the Kracjir case led to his department recognizing him as officer of the year back in 2008.

He credited his faith and family for supporting him through that journey, and the one to come.

However, Smith admitted he may not close the book on the cases, and the families, grown so close to.

"There's a possibility that I may be able to work part time and just concentrate on our cold cases," he said.

So, still not walking away, we asked.

"I may not walk away totally," he admitted.

Even in retirement, Smith has a busy summer planned.

After a family vacation, he and his son head to Haiti on a mission trip through their church.

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