Yakima police cracking cold cases

Yakima police cracking cold cases »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Police are using new DNA testing to make arrests on old cases. There are dozens of unsolved cases right now, but YPD is working to change that.

There are boxes upon boxes filled with cases. Most of them are closed, but there are still 35 cold cases at YPD. The oldest cold case dates back to 1974.

"What we are looking at is our current list of open cases that we have,” said crime scene investigator Kristen Drury. “All the ones in green you see that they are cleared. We've either arrested or charged someone in them. And, the red ones that you see are still an open statute, meaning we haven't arrested or located a suspect in them."

Cold cases account for about 17-percent of all homicides in Yakima, but Drury is working with the state crime lab and detectives to change that.

"Before we could tell what type of person, but now we can actually tell the individual it belonged to," said Drury.

They're using new DNA testing. It requires a much smaller sample. The technology isn't new it came out in the 90s. Since Drury joined YPD in 2003, she's been able to spend time working on these cold cases.
They are cases that detectives have been too busy to work. Drury closed her first cold case a couple years ago.

"The day I got the facts it felt really good," said Drury.

Bringing justice for these victims is what keeps her going.

"There are many more than that that still need to be reviewed and see what evidence is left," she said.

The DNA testing doesn't cost YPD any more money. It's covered in the state's budget. The downside is that it can take months or years to get the results.