#UNSOLVED: Retired law enforcement volunteer to solve crime across NC
WALLACE, NC (WWAY) — There is a group of retired and active law enforcement in the state who volunteer to help solve crime known as the Carolinas Cold Case Coalition.
“It’s not glamorous. You know working cold cases is not like you see on TV,” Joe Kennedy said. “It could take weeks just to re-read the case file and understand the case file and who’s in that and who the potential suspects are. It’s very tedious. It’s very monotonous.”
It may be difficult and may never lead to any answers, but Joe Kennedy is committed to it.
“It’s my passion,” Kennedy said.
After retiring as special agent in charge with NCIS at Camp Lejeune, Joe Kennedy is now using his passion to give back.
“I care because, you know, to me, it’s, you know, the victim. Some victims don’t have a voice,” Kennedy said.
That is why he has brought together the voices, the skills, and the eyes of retired and active law enforcement to form the Carolinas Cold Case Coalition.
“We are a group of volunteers and it’s a non-profit organization and we exist simply to help law enforcement with cold cases,” Kennedy said.
It is a group of people who all share that same passion.
“It’s weird, but I love it,” Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said. “It’s what I’ve spent my career doing, major crimes and homicides and once it gets in your blood, it’s hard to kick it.”
Wallace Police Chief James Crayton works with the coalition and knows first hand why it is needed.
“There is not an agency in the state that has all of the resource that it wants. While there are certainly some that have a lot more than others, none of us have everything we want,” Crayton said.
“You’ll find, in the state, you know we have about 500 murders,” Kennedy said. “North Carolina ranks ninth in terms of murders across the nation.”
He said crime just does not stop either.
“There is a demand,” Kennedy said. “You know the cases don’t stop coming in the door. They are still responding to you know other violent crime and other cases.”
That is where they come in.
“We meet quarterly in both North and South Carolina and last February, we had the city of Nags Head come to us. You know it’s a smaller agency you know out on the Outer Banks and they needed some DNA testing, some funding for DNA testing on a horrendous case where a young baby was abandoned and killed and we were able to get them some funding for that.”
Chief Crayton said they also bring other options to the table.
“Hey there is this out there, there’s this technology and hey we might be able to help you fund this DNA test that costs x amount of dollars that your agency might be able to fund?”
The coalition is currently helping Wallace PD on the 2015 murder of Michael Lamb.
How many cases have they helped solve? Kennedy said it is not about that.
“The one thing that we will never do is first of all, we like to operate in anonymity, so we don’t ever want to take credit, because we are not solving the cases. okay? The department’s are. We are just simply maybe helping them with some resources or those fresh set of eyes.”
Whether they take any credit for what they have done using that fresh set of eyes, that extra resource, anyone can see their passion is making a difference.
“We are their last line of defense,” Crayton said. “We are the only ones that can bring justice. We are the only ones that can bring any type of closure.”
if your agency needs help with a cold case, you can reach Kennedy by e-mail at staff@coldcasecoalition or by telephone at 336-701-6233.