Cards may help crack murder cases, officials hope

CHICAGO Some officials are now using a new and unusual way to keep cases from being forgotten. Cards have the name and description of a missing person or murder victim. The deck is being distributed to prisoners in the state of New York. Similar decks are going to prisons in a number of other states and may soon be available in Chicago.

It's the idea of a New York man named Doug Lyall whose daughter, Suzanne, disappeared from an upstate college campus ten years ago and is presumed dead. Doug and his wife, Mary, started the Center for Hope which manufactures and distributes the playing cards.

Lyall points out that incarcerated men like to play cards and they like to talk. They are in a unique position to know, hear and see things that may not reach the eyes and ears of law enforcement. The cards may trigger a memory or spark some conscience. Rewards of up to $1,000 will be offered for tips that help resolve cold cases.

Two Chicago police detectives hope to take the idea one step further and distribute the specialized cards to the general public.

"It's an untapped resource," said Detective Tim Murphy, Chicago Police Department.

"Let's get them out to the community and hopefully some of the information will shag some memories and people will reach out and contact us," said Detective Dan Stover, Chicago Police Department.

The whole idea started with the invasion of Iraq, when the government put the pictures of wanted war criminals on playing cards.

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