Cold Case Answers In The Cards?

Cold case detectives may have an ace up their sleeve to help them solve murder mysteries.

A program in a Florida jail uses playing cards to try to get inmates to shed new light on old murder cases.

As CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, one case in which the effort may pay off is the case of Roni Gamble.

"Roni was sweet, little, athletic, very outgoing, loved the outdoors," says Gayle Conley, Gamble's surrogate mother.

Gamble was brutally attacked and left to drown at a Florida lake in 1984. She was only 18, and five months pregnant.

"She loved her family, and she also loved our family, too," says Lee Conley, Gamble's surrogate father.

The Conleys took Gamble into their home and their hearts after her biological family fell apart.

For the Conleys, her unsolved murder is their continuing sorrow.

"It's hard, even 22 years later," Strassmann said to Lee.

"Yes, it is," Lee confirmed. "Hard, hard, hard. And I'm not gonna give up. Somebody knows something."

Finally, after all that time, there's a possible break in the mystery of her death, Strassmann says, thanks to a clever new way of coaxing leads from people with secrets.

Jails are the Internet of unsolved crimes, Strassmann says. Prisoners know things, they hear things and sometimes they talk. Now, at Florida's Polk County Jail, a deck of cards is helping to heat up cold cases.

"Instead of interviewing each inmate individually, which is impossible, I thought this is a perfect way to get the information out there," said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Tommy Ray.

Strassmann says Ray had a brainstorm. He knew inmates spent hours playing cards, so why not have them play with a special deck? Fifty-two cards, 52 unsolved murders, some of them decades old.
  • Brian Dakss

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