Law enforcement officials and the families of murder victims testified on behalf of a bill that would expand the state's cold case unit Tuesday morning.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the federal money that helped launch the Cold Case Unit back in 2009 has run out and that dozens of investigations have suffered as a result.
“We have lost the dedicated focus for cold cases," said MacDonald. "There are 128 cold cases in our state. And we have basically one attorney dedicated to that.”
The bill before lawmakers would add two prosecutors to the unit at a cost of about $220,000 a year for the next two years.
Families of victims and police officers who also testified at the hearing suggested lawmakers amend the bill to also increase the number of detectives in the unit which now stands at two full-time and two part-time.
Janet Gloddy Young was among the relatives of victims who spoke to lawmakers at the hearing. The 1971 murder of her sister Kathy Gloddy in Franklin remains unsolved.
“In 2009 I worked to pass a bill to create the state's first cold case unit," said Young. "I am now back here 10 years later to ask you to expand this unit, because there are more than 100 families like mine that are still waiting and fighting for justice.”
Ken Dionne, whose sister Roberta "Bobbie" Miller was murdered in 2010 in Gilford, told lawmakers the short staff and lack of overtime pay for Cold Case Unit detectives has led to high turnover.
"At this time, my sister Bobbie's case is on its fifth lead detective," said Dionne. "I can't tell you how disheartening it is to get that phone call that says that the lead detective is moving on."
The Cold Case Unit currently handles 128 cases of unsolved murders, suspicious deaths, and suspicious disappearances across New Hampshire.