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Raleigh police use advances in science to help crack cold cases

Posted December 18, 2014

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— When Edwin Lawing faced a Wake County judge Thursday, it was nearly 19 years after police say he killed his girlfriend, Lacoy McQueen.

It’s one of several cold cases Raleigh police have been able to make arrests on recently.

Earlier this week, Sinatra Dunn pleaded guilty to murder. Police arrested him over the summer, more than 40 years after Ralph Smith was found dead on a Raleigh street in 1971.

“The Raleigh Police Department doesn’t close a case,” said Capt. Norman Grodi.

In the past two years, the department’s violent crime unit has made arrests on or solved five cold cases.

“Part of our mission is to find justice for the family who's been victimized in these cases, and a lot of times the only voice we find who can speak for these people anymore is the one detective who's handling that old case,” Grodi said.

The agency doesn’t have a designated cold case unit. Rather, one homicide detective is signed to each old unsolved homicide. That case is constantly reviewed and is periodically rotated to new investigators to “get a different perspective and maybe pick up something somebody else never saw before,” Grodi said.

Advances in forensic science over the past decade, including DNA analysis, have helped crack cases that have long been dormant.

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  • Bobby Caudle Dec 19, 2014
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    awesome

  • Tom Smith Dec 19, 2014
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    RPD is easily the most competant, well trained and well equipped department in NC. Hands down. Outstanding work homicide detectives!