Vito Spano addresses Cold Case Conference
The former head of New York City's cold case squad, Vito Spano addressed a Vicitms conference in Colorado yesterday. "You should always be an activist" says Spano: I don't know if that's uplifting or depressing. The last time I met with police officials for Theresa's case was a year ago. Pierre Boisvenu came with me to meet the SQ. When the meeting was over Pierre said to me, "you need to come back every year" and my heart sunk.
I can tell you that doing this and maintaining normal, stable relationships is very difficult because it encourages isolation and compartmentalization. It's different for Pierre. His case has gone to trial, the offender is incarcerated. Yes, in 10-years he will have the parole board to deal with, but for now he gets tremendous satisfaction from helping others.
That's not true with cold-cases. You're going back and looking at these old facts. I looked at a picture of Louise Camirand the other night; it ruined my evening. Very difficult to keep vigil under these circumstances.
Gotta go, my daughter wants me to read her Santa's Ark. Here's the article:
DENVER AND THE WEST
Cold-case expert urges victims' families to be vocal advocates
N.Y. expert urges conference attendees to be vocal advocates
By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
The former head of New York City's cold-case squad urged families of murdered and missing loved ones to be vocal advocates of their families.
"You should always be the activist," said Vito Spano, the former commander of the New York City cold-case unit. If they do so, the chances improve that their family member's case will get a better look.
Spano spoke in Denver on Saturday at a conference of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons attended by more than 300 members including those who flew in from Texas, Illinois and Tennessee.
Spano, who now works for the New York attorney general's office, supervised investigations between 2001 and 2004 of dozens of killers, including mobsters brought to justice
(XX)101009_victims_CFW- Keynote speaker Vito Spano, former head of New York City's cold case squad, address a conference of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons at the Red Lion Hotel in Denver, CO. (THE DENVER POST | CRAIG F. WALKER)
sometimes decades after murders.
Spano said family members can make suggestions to detectives in a diplomatic way about submitting evidence for specific tests using modern technology.
At the Saturday conference, family members of victims met with police, including cold-case detectives and Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman, about specific cases in a session from which the media was excluded.
The Colorado victims group started with 11 members in 2001 and now has 750 members, spokeswoman Stefanie Clarke said.
Colorado State University officials also presented their findings Saturday of a study called "Forgotten Victims: What Cold Case Families Want from Law Enforcement."
CSU researchers looked at the experiences of 36 family members of victims of homicide from 10 different parts of the state.
In Colorado, the number of unsolved homicides since 1970 has grown to 1,487 and continues to rise as the rate of cases solved has dropped from 91 percent in 1963 to 61 percent in 2007. A homicide becomes a cold case by definition in Colorado after it is unsolved one year after the murder.
Prabha Unnithan, director of the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice, said it used to be that most homicides were committed by people close to the victim, such as a spouse, a business partner or a friend. After committing murder, many of them would confess. Now the connections between killer and victim are less concrete, and difficult to establish, he said.
Former CSU Professor Paul Stretesky, who led the nine-month study, said communication with family members of victims can improve the chances that a case will be solved.
Victims often believed police stopped investigating because of limited resources and many believed their race and age and criminal background affected aggressiveness of officers in solving the cases.
In numerous cases detectives or prosecutors told victims they knew who killed their loved one but couldn't prove it.
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org