When a Washington State couple vanished from a trailer in 1985, leaving blood behind, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office considered the case an unsolved homicide. But it wasn’t until the Seattle Post-Intelligencer asked about the case late last year that the Sheriff added the couple’s names to a nationwide database of missing people — a crucial step in linking names to bodies whenever unidentified corpses turn up.
In February, the case was featured in the Post-Intelligencer special report “Without a Trace,” which detailed how flaws in missing-persons investigations across Washington and the nation can allow the dead to go unnamed and killers to get away with murder.
Now, because of the stories, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is seeking to reinvestigate the case — as well as several other long unsolved “cold cases” throughout Central Washington. A regional “cold case” squad with headquarters in Wenatchee will serve up to four Central Washington police jurisdictions. “You showed us the flaws in our system,” said Mark Mann, chief of operations and investigations for the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. “So now we’re saying, ‘OK, what can we do to improve things?’ ”