Tokio – When a human being finds another human murdered, it causes extreme feelings – alarm, fear, foreboding.
It's not easy to look at another person whose remains have been tossed aside like a sack of garbage. The first, primitive reaction would be to run. Whomever or whatever got this person might get you.
It's not easy to look at another person whose remains have been tossed aside, like a sack of garbage.
That's where the trained, experienced investigator comes in. He or she is there to work.
It's in the tiny details that these depredations are solved, the facts and testimony, physical evidence and clues assembled that will give a judge and jury a clear picture of what, in fact, happened, and exactly how it happened.
Once that has been accomplished, it's up to the prosecutors to present the case, and even if there is no conviction obtained, the matter is said to have been cleared.
What about the cases that are not cleared? They are said to remain “open,” a bleak term that means no real conclusions have been deduced, no clear-cut, conclusive evidence obtained.
The cold case joins the dozens of others that languish in files and banker boxes, photos, reports, lab analyses and odd pieces of property filed and stacked neatly on the shelves of the evidence locker.
There are 53 such cases sharing that status in McLennan County at this time. Retired U.S. Deputy Marshal Parnell McNamara and his sidekick Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon have a plan, a remedy for that.
Retired cops and investigators have approached them wanting to work as volunteers to help clear these cases. There are DNA tests to be performed, time lines to be re-thought, witnesses to be interviewed a second time, and pieces of evidence to examine all over again.
“There is a reason why it's a cold case. It's not easy; it's hard, hard to do...
“The families get closure, the victims get justice, we clear the case – hey, it's a win-win situation, any way you look at it,” said Matt Cawthon as he visited, along with Marshal McNamara, and other members of the posse, at the Musicians' Reunion at Al's Tokio Store Sunday afternoon.