How decks of playing cards are helping investigators solve cold cases


The number of unsolved missing person or homicide cases in the United States is far greater than we would like to acknowledge. Unfortunately, as the decades go by, case files pile up and get put off because there aren’t enough leads. Detectives must find innovative ways to heat up these cold cases.

Prisons distribute cold case playing cards

In 2005, Tommy Ray, Special Agent at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, was back. I came up with a creative method to get leads for the department’s coldest cases. Ray accidentally met the wrong prisoner in a drug investigation and was given a tip by the inmate about a separate murder case.

RELATED:Ed Kemper, Serial Killer, Had Surprisingly Respectable Prison Time

This information helped the detective solve a five year-old mystery that he believed had gone cold. He then came up with an idea. He printed information about cold cases on playing cards and distributed them throughout the detention centers. This would allow him to get inmates talking about open cases without ever having to enter prison.

The Cards Have Military Origins

Ray’s idea traces all the way back to the United States military’s use of playing cards in the Iraq war. Throughout the early ’00s, the military distributed special decks of playing cards to soldiers that helped them memorize the names and faces of Iraqi targets. These cards were distributed by the military to soldiers. “most wanted”Cards decks are now available Valuable pieces of memorabilia from wartime.

These decks were also used to inspire similar decks that were distributed in American prisons. For several years, prison inmates would have decks of wanted criminals and fugitives. Ray suggested that prisoners would be more effective if they displayed missing persons and homicide victims as well as pertinent information about unsolved crimes. 2007 saw the following: Florida distributed the first deck..

Cold Case Decks are being implemented in more states

Now, Florida isn’t the only state using these special card decks. We know that close to half the 50 states use their own versions. The cards have been used in at least 35 cases across America as of 2021. This number will only increase as more prisoners are able to access the cards.

They have been so successful that the cards are now available for purchase. New South Wales police were notified., Australia. In June, news broke that the playing cards would be distributed across prisons in the region after a five-year push from the victims’ families.

True Crime Podcasters Are Getting Caught Up

But prisoners aren’t the only ones that could hold the key to unlocking these mysteries. Citizens are able to solve some cases with a little bit of attention, as citizen sleuths have discovered. Numerous podcasters took advantage of this unique storytelling ability, inspired by the idea.

RELATED: Where Are Jaycee Lee Dugard’s Two Daughters Today?

Most importantly, Crime JunkieAshley Flowers, host of the podcast, has launched a podcast called The Deck This documentary sheds light on the mysterious playing cards. Flowers tells the stories about missing persons and homicide victims who found their way onto these decks in the television show.

More from Suggest