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Cold cases stay at top of prosecutor's, investigator's priorities

Cold cases are still at the top of law enforcement's priority list.
Cold cases are still at the top of law enforcement's priority list.
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Four years ago today, Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were found in a wildlife area of Bremer County.

Their abduction and murder still remain a mystery.

Unfortunately, that case is just one of the hundreds of cold cases in Iowa, including some in the Corridor.

Johnson County attorney Janet Lyness has seen a number of cold cases during her time with the county, even some she's helped to prosecute.

She said there is motivation that comes with closing those kinds of cases.

"The victim's families are universally pleased that people have not forgotten their loved one, they want us to go forward," Lyness said.

She said moving forward is easier with new advancements, but the only guarantee is that it'll be hard work.

"DNA can be a huge help so the scientific advancements, whether it's DNA or other kinds of testing we can do now that we couldn't do 20, 30 years ago makes a huge difference in being able to investigate cases," Lyness said. "At the same time, it really takes a lot of work by investigators."

Lieutenant Doug Gwinn said working for the family is important, but there's also a safety aspect to solving cold cases.

"It's important to us to bring them closure as well as public safety issues as well of someone who's committed a crime is still out on the street, we don't want them to have an opportunity to hurt anyone else," Gwinn said.

They said they never stop looking.

"There's investigators who say 'I could never drive by this particular place where the victim was found without thinking about that case,'" Lyness said.

They said they never give up, they just keep looking for the silver lining that could bring closure to those who've never forgotten.

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"We try not to let it frustrate us, we just keep pushing," Gwinn said. "We get up each day and we come in and we hope to talk to more people, we hope to find more facts that take us into different directions and we work toward the end."

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