Authorities Distributing Cold Case Playing Cards to Richmond Inmates

Richmond law enforcement will distribute cold case decks of cards to inmates at the Richmond City Justice Center; the cards feature pictures and names of victims of unsolved homicides.

“The loss of a murdered loved one is devastating. Not receiving justice makes it even worse. I’m hopeful that this creative tool will help law enforcement provide answers and justice to these families,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in an announcement.

The decks are standard playing cards and feature case details as well as how to provide information regarding the case. Inmates will be rewarded if the information is “valid and valuable.” Miyares’ release said the goal is for inmates to recognize the victim or remember details about the case that could help law enforcement. Miyares’ spokesperson said the cards are only being deployed in Richmond for now but officials want to expand to other localities in the future.

Similar decks are being used in 17 other states, according to a 2016 article from Slate, which cites multiple cases solved in Florida and Connecticut. Slate said the original cards were created in Polk County, Florida in 2005, inspired by cards distributed to U.S. troops in Iraq to find members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Miyares’ office partnered with the Richmond Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Police Department, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin’s office, and Crime Stoppers.

“Families of loved ones who were taken from our community deserve closure and we’ve seen this be an effective resource in other jurisdictions,” Richmond Chief of Police Gerald Smith said in the release. “We are proud to participate in this endeavor as this is a creative method for generating interest and information on pending cases that could help generate new leads.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].




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