Grant Helps Minneapolis Police Take Fresh Look at Cold Cases


It was a warm May evening when her daughter Suzanne was raped and strangled in a cozy Minneapolis studio apartment. Over time, detectives spent hundreds of hours working the case. But Suzanne Sayles’ killer remains a mystery. Sayles’ murder will get fresh eyes and a boost from vastly improved DNA technology from the Minneapolis Police Department’s new cold case unit, started this month, reports the city’s Star Tribune. Supported by a $500,000 federal grant, veteran homicide Sgts. Tammy Diedrich and Barb Moe will consider cases with the greatest potential for solving, dating back to 1972.

Their initial targets include a man killed downtown 10 years ago and a series of possibly connected homicides of men from the 1980s. Solving cold cases isn’t quite the way it’s portrayed on the popular television show. Lt. Amelia Huffman, head of the homicide unit, said it’s not like a detective opens a box from the archives and two weeks later a suspect is in custody giving a full confession. “And looking glamorous doing it,” she said. More than 400 cases were evaluated, which meant going through box after box stored in a warehouse. The key for any case to be selected is the availability of physical evidence for DNA testing that has been stored properly and not contaminated. Only 100 met the criteria.


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