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"Cold case" playing cards in Mississippi jails aim to solve murders, disappearances

New way to solve cold cases includes playing cards
New way to solve cold cases includes playing cards 01:57

A Mississippi organization is trying to solve cold cases with a special deck of cards. 

The Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers created "cold case" playing cards that have information about various unsolved homicide and missing persons cases, printing 2,500 of the decks to be distributed within seven jails. 

Each deck features 56 cold cases. There are 20 missing persons cases, according to Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers CEO Lori Massey, and 36 unsolved homicides on the cards. 

The cards each have photos of a missing or deceased person, and information about the circumstances under which they died or were last seen.

Cold case playing cards distributed by the Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers. Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers

Massey told CBS News that the organization was inspired to release the decks after learning that other Crime Stoppers units nationwide had used the technique to successfully get information about cold cases. 

"We are not the first, but we are the first in our state to issue them," Massey said. "It's not my idea, I just borrowed it from someone else." 

The technique has a record of success. In 2009, a similar pack of playing cards distributed in Minnesota helped identify a set of remains as a missing woman. In 2017, arrests were made in two cold cases in just one week after playing cards with case information were distributed in Connecticut jails. 

Inmates who report information that leads to the discovery of a body of a missing person or an arrest in a case would receive $2,500, Massey said, though she added that the Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers have not figured out how people in jail could receive the funds. Different Crime Stoppers organizations have different incentives, Massey said. 

Employees at the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, which monitors the largest prison on the Mississippi coast, receive the cold case cards.   Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers

"We can't put the money into their commissary account or anything like that," Massey said. "So we're going to have to figure out how we're going to get them the money. But not everyone's serving a 15-year sentence. These are our county jails. ... We're very hopeful that this will lead to something." 

Massey said that families of those listed on the cards were "appreciative" of the initiative. Lacy Moran, whose father Joey disappeared in 2019, told CBS News affiliate WLOX that she hoped the cards would lead to more information. 

"I'm hoping this is a new community that we haven't reached yet," Moran said. "Along the coast, everyone has heard Dad's name and I'm hoping there's some people who still haven't heard and this is going to solve something."

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