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Revamped cold case database aims to help with unsolved cases

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Public Safety has overhauled the Cold Case Database website to help law enforcement solve crimes three years old or older.

The website has better search features and photos to aid investigators as they look for links between cases or try and identify victims. The 400 cases listed also include missing persons.

At the launch at the State Capitol, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown recalled the case of Patricia Barrett, whose body was found by the Sheriff’s Office near Saltair in 1978. A missing person’s report was filed a few months later with police. The cases weren’t linked until 2011.

“So agencies sitting side by side never made that connection [that the family did],” said Brown. He thinks this will get law enforcement groups talking to each other and keeping these cases alive.

There are officially 400 cold cases in Utah, but the database’s crime analyst Kathy Mackay thinks there may be more.

The state is spending about $170,000 in the first year to run and maintain the site.

The public will soon be able to access a similar database at publicsafety.utah.gov.