Six-year-old Peggy Chappell was last seen on Thanksgiving Day 1993 getting into a van or SUV in Birmingham, Al., with a man who witnesses said kissed her on the cheek. Her body was found the next day, stuffed in a garbage bag and dumped on a heap of trash in the rubble of a ruined house within a block of her family’s home. The Birmingham News says the murder is one of 300-plus unsolved homicides in the city dating to 1951. The police department has had a cold case unit for a decade, but it was just two weeks ago that two detectives launched a page on Facebook. Tips are coming in.
“We’re trying to reach out to the younger generation, ages 16-30,” said Det. Jonathon Ross said. “One tip came in this morning.” While the first 48 to 72 hours are the most critical in getting witness information about a crime, investigators believe lapsed time often works in their favor as relationships and circumstances change, and people mature. Detectives think Facebook will get their message, and their need for witnesses and information, out to a broader range of people. “This will be a good tool for us,” Ross said. Already, the detectives have loaded about 30 cases on to the Facebook page and will continue to add to the list.