Highway Patrol hopes decks of cards help solve cold cases

By CJ Cassidy bio | email
FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - Authorities are gambling that Missouri inmates and prisoners will help them solve some of their cases, and they're hoping a deck of cards is the way to do it.
The Missouri Highway Patrol hopes inmates and prisoners will do more than just play with these cards.
Each card represents a missing person or the victim of an unsolved murder, and troopers hope their gamble pays off.
"The reason we're going to inmates is because we know that they know things, they have a network, they talk," said Sgt. Al Nothum with the Missouri Highway Patrol.
He hopes their bet pays off, and some of those inmates talk to investigators about what they might know.
"These are all basically 52 cold cases, homicides, missing persons.  Obviously there's more than 52 in the state of Missouri hundreds of them, obviously we could only pick 52," Nothum said.
Some of those cases are well known here in the Heartland.
Teresa Butler disappeared from her home back in January 2006.  Sherri and Megan Scherer's bodies were found in their home in Portageville back in 1998.  Then, there's the Gina Dawn Brooks case that's been cold for several years now.
The 13-year-old disappeared while riding her bike in Fredericktown, almost 20 years ago.
"The town hasn't forgotten about Gina. Her family has done a wonderful job of keeping her memory alive," Beverly Sikes said.
Sikes taught Gina math in sixth grade, and is glad to see the cards.  She says she hasn't given up on finding out what happened to her student.
"I still think of her as that little girl that sat in the second row, and was always full of questions," Sikes said.  "Hopefully one of these days it will be solved."
The back of each card features the tip line, and authorities hope inmates play the hand they're dealt.
"We're hoping out of the goodness of their hearts - they're going to want to do the right thing, and contact the authorities," Sgt. Nothum said.
Troopers plan on handing out 5000 decks to inmates and prisoners starting next month.  If the program is successful, they hope to print more cards down the road.
To find out more information, simply call the Missouri Highway Patrol at 866-362-6422.