WUFT News

Detective Heather Phillips: The one-woman shop to solve cold cases

By on October 5th, 2012

While shows like “CSI” may suggest that police departments have large investigation teams to solve disappearances like Christian Aguilar’s, that’s not often the case.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case unit has one lone detective.

Detective Heather Phillips said most of her time consists of going through old files and familiarizing herself with old cases. She said unless an active lead is called in, “it’s not much to do out in the field.”

Phillips said cards with information about unsolved cases are sometimes distributed to prison inmates to elicit new information.

“They get dispersed to inmates through the prison system through the Department of Corrections, hoping that somebody in the prisons have heard or know somebody,” she said. “People talk in prisons and you know, they’re snitches, so we’re hoping that that will develop into some information.”

But DNA testing has contributed in big ways in helping solve cases, Phillips said.

“I have a couple cold cases from the ’70s, early ’80s and obviously it’s come a long ways since back then, so we’re able to do a lot more with the scientific evidence that comes in,” she said.

George Kamenov, a UF associate in geological sciences, has been helping law enforcement with analysis of bone and hair samples for about a year. He has analyzed about 12 cases.

Kamenov recently worked on identifying the woman known as Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee, determining that she was from a country in Southern Europe. Experts had previously thought that she was Indian or South Floridian.

Kelly Price edited this story online.

 


This entry was posted in Crime and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Crime

UF Self-Defense Device Rules Relaxed in Wake of Assaults

University of Florida students are taking safety into their own hands. Students are becoming more cautious about their daily routines and surroundings since three assaults occurred on or near UF’s campus over the last couple of weeks. According to the UF [...]


Bullet holes are visible in the side of the house as police investigate the incident that injured two children.

Two Children Injured in Drive by Shooting in Marion County

Two children were injured in a drive-by shooting in Ocala on Friday at around 2:10 a.m. The children are currently in stable condition.


Investigation Finds One Of The Four Attacks Unfounded

Earlier today investigators with the Gainesville Police Department declared one of four recent attacks on female students on the University of Florida’s campus unfounded. On Sept. 5, a female student at the University of Florida reported to UF police that [...]


fb_blurred

FSU Graduate Impersonated On Facebook Seeks Answers

Florida State University graduate Kyle Leonard first learned he was being impersonated on Facebook over one year ago. Now, he has learned the impersonator may be connected to a Boynton Beach man under investigation by the FBI.


Female UF Students React to Recent Attacks

Female students at the University of Florida are reacting to the news of multiple assaults on or near the UF campus in the past two weeks. Some are questioning whether its safe to walk the grounds at night.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments