I am writing to ask all Alaskans to support the funding for the Alaska State Troopers Cold Case Unit.  Please, no one should get away with murder.  Spending $383,000  to ensure that detectives are current on the cold cases and will be able to act and react if tips come in is crucial to keeping killers and rapists off our streets.

It is extremely sad that so many families who are hoping to someday get answers, get justice, and see their day in court, will lose that opportunity.  It is very shortsighted not to realize that it is not just these families who would suffer a disservice, but the public at large. Protection of the public should be the priority of our government; public safety.  With people getting away with murder those killers will commit more crimes and there will be more victims.

Now that Alaska is collecting DNA on All Felony Arrests, many more crimes are being solved. Many old cases, dating back to 1978 have been solved across the nation because Cold Case Investigators submit decade old evidence to the crime labs and DNA is found.  Eventually, if not already, there will be a match with an arrestee or a convicted felon.

Cases with any DNA evidence have so much potential of being solved when Cold Case Investigators are working on and are familiar with the crime.  In my daughter’s murder case, Bonnie Craig, there was over 10,000 pages of investigation, over 105 DNA samples were taken to rule-out possible suspects, and there was 240+ audio taped interviews.  If no one was familiar with the case at the time the DNA match came in, I can assure you, law enforcement would have been scrambling and would have had to do a lot more catch up and the state would have ended up paying a lot of overtime trying to put the case together.  It probably will end up costing more than the $383,000 that the state will save by not funding a Cold Case Unit.

It is sad that we only fund our law enforcement enough to deal with the most horrific and recent crimes.  Regardless of when a murder happened it is considered an “open case.”  Should the Cold Case Unit be disbanned it seems only fair that the family of the victims be given all the information on the case so they can hire their own investigators or detectives.  Currently that is not an option for families and victims of cold cases.  Years ago I tried to hire retired state troopers and retired police detectives and I was told that murder cases are always considered “open” and therefore none of this information would be shared.  So if the state does not fund the Cold Case Unit they definitely should consider allowing families to hire their own investigators and share the information they have to date with those investigators.

My heart goes out to all those who are still waiting for answers.  It was such an incredible bittersweet triumph for me to hear the words, “Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty” as Kenneth Dion was convicted of Bonnie’s murder almost 17 years after he had killed her.  The weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders, knowing that he could no longer harm another mother’s child and that he would spend the rest of his life in jail.  Justice prevailed!

I beg all lawmakers to consider continued support of and approving the funding of the $383,000 for the Cold Case Unit.  In Alaska a half mile of road, in some places, costs more than that!  Please help protect the public from killers and rapists.  

I urge all Alaskans to contact your lawmakers.  Ask them to stop re-victimizing the victims and not allow Alaska to become a safe haven for criminals.   Ask them to please fund the Cold Case Unit.

Karen Foster