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Sun, Sept. 22

Sheriff starts up cold case squad

Sheriff Doug Schuster, far right, is joined by volunteers for the sheriff’s department’s new special investigations unit. (Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff's Office)

Sheriff Doug Schuster, far right, is joined by volunteers for the sheriff’s department’s new special investigations unit. (Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff's Office)

LAKE HAVASU CITY - Old crimes will get a fresh look thanks to a new investigative unit created by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Doug Schuster announced Friday the creation of his department’s special investigations unit, a group of volunteers dedicated to the investigation of cold cases.

Under the direction of Eric Stout, the sheriff’s professional standards specialist, retired detective Jason Elsbury and Detective Sergeant John Kole, the group has a collective law enforcement experience of 228 years.

Sheriff Schuster announced his plan to create a cold case squad in an April guest column in Today’s News-Herald.

“We have a great many retired law enforcement officers living in Mohave County,” he wrote. “The knowledge and experience of these men and women can be of great value.”

Each volunteer was approved by sheriff’s command staff and vetted to include a background check and polygraph examination, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The volunteers will be provided updated training in crime scene investigation, evidence collection, defensive driving and firearms training.”

In Friday’s news release, the sheriff said the investigations unit can help bring closure for families in unsolved homicide cases.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to get this program up and running. We have a great group of volunteers with a tremendous amount of law enforcement investigative experience,” Schuster said in the release. “We have major cases that have gone unsolved for years, in some cases decades. We owe it to the victims in these cases to take another look. If we can close out one case, this program will be a huge success.”

Editor's Note: This story was changed to reflect that Eric Stout is the sheriff’s professional standards specialist and a retired detective of 15 years. Det. Lt. Jason Elsbury is not retired. The article has been updated.

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