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UPDATE ON NEW HAMPSHIRE COLD CASE UNIT

I recently contacted the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit and it reminded me of how thankful I am that they’ve been established. They have done an amazing job solving cases that have lingered on the books for centuries.I’m grateful for those that assist them, whether it’s law enforcement from the past that have worked years on these cases or present law enforcement now lending their expertise.

The Unit was established in the fall of 2009 and has solved four cases since then. Here is a list of all the cases thus far. I’ve included the information on the 1969 unsolved murder currently being worked on.

I have a great respect for the dedication the Cold Case Unit has shown and I expect more cases will be solved. It certainly will be a travesty if the Unit is discontinued. Coming together and fighting for this Unit is going to be a must.

Recently the BCI of Ohio contacted me and requested a copy of the bill created to establish the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit.  They wanted to see the wording used in the proposal.  New Hampshire you are a leader in solving cold cases, other states will follow in your footsteps, that’s how important you are!

For Immediate Release
June 30, 2010

Contact:
Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker
Cell: (603) 419-0259
Assistant Attorney General Lucy Carrillo

Arrest in 1989 Cold Case Quadruple Homicide from Keene, New Hampshire

Arrest of David McLeod (Age 53) for the Homicides of the Hina family

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, State Police Colonel Robert Quinn, and Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meola announce that on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, David McLeod, age 53, was arrested on four counts of Second Degree Murder in connection with the homicides of the Hina family in 1989.

At approximately 2:25 a.m., on January 14, 1989, the Keene police and fire departments responded to a fire of a multi-family apartment building at 88 High Street in Keene. When the police and fire departments arrived they discovered Carl Hina (age 49), his wife, Lori Hina (age 26), their four-month-old daughter Lillian Hina, and Carl’s twelve-year-old daughter Sara in their apartment. Carl was pronounced dead at the scene. Lori, Sara, and Lillian were all transported to Cheshire Medical Center where efforts to revive them were unsuccessful. The medical examiner determined that all four victims died as a result of smoke inhalation.

Initially the Keene Fire Department opined that the fire may have started accidentally. However, subsequent investigation by the Keene Police Department developed evidence that the fire was suspicious. After further investigation, the NH Fire Marshall’s Office ruled the fire started as a result of arson. No arrests were made during the original investigation and the case remained open.

In July 2009, a bill creating New Hampshire’s first Cold Case Unit to investigate unresolved homicides and suspicious deaths was enacted. In December 2009, the Unit began reviewing over 100 cases and focused on the deaths of the Hina family as one of its first cases. The investigators reviewed the original file, reinterviewed witnesses, and interviewed witnesses who were not spoken to during the original investigation. The Unit also consulted with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Thomas Andrew reviewed information generated during the investigation and certified that the deaths of the Hina family were the result of homicide. The Keene Police Department and Fire Department also cooperated in the current investigation.

As a result of the current investigation, the Unit sought and obtained an arrest warrant for four counts of Second Degree Murder against David McLeod for recklessly causing the death of the Hina family members under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life by starting the fire at 88 High Street on January 14, 1989. The West Sacramento Police Department, together with members of the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit arrested David McLeod in West Sacramento, California on June 30, 2010. McLeod has lived in the Sacramento area for more than 15 years.

Today, McLeod was arraigned on a fugitive from justice charge in the Yolo County Superior Court in Woodland, California. A contested hearing was held and at the conclusion of that hearing, McLeod was ordered to be returned to New Hampshire. He is expected to arrive in New Hampshire late on Thursday, July 1, 2010.

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2011

Contact:
N. William Delker, Senior Assistant Attorney General
cell: (603) 419-0259

Arrests in 1988 Cold Case Double Homicide from Nashua, New Hampshire

Press Conference at Nashua Police Department at 2:00 p.m.

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Nashua Police Chief Donald Conley announce that on Monday, April 11, 2011, Anthony Barnaby, age 43, and David Caplin, age 49, were arrested in Canada in connection with the double murder of Charlene Ranstrom and Brenda Warner. Brenda Warner and Charlene Ranstrom were killed in their home at 7 Mason Street in Nashua on the night of October 2-3, 1988.

The Attorney General’s Office and the Nashua Police Department will address additional details about the case at a press conference at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. The press conference will be held at the Nashua Police Department, which is located at 0 Panther Drive, Nashua, NH.

Any inquiries should be referred to Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker (603) 419-0259.

Until this week, the brutal double-murder of Charlene Ranstrom and Brenda Warner seemed destined to remain among the most heinous unsolved homicides in city history.

Twenty-three years had passed since Ranstrom’s two sons found their mother and her roommate beaten, tied and stabbed to death inside their Mason Street apartment.

It wasn’t that police had no clue who might be responsible for committing these gruesome crimes on the night of Oct. 2, 1988; they made one arrest within days and issued a nationwide alert for the suspected accomplice within a week of discovering the women’s bodies. Prosecutors just weren’t able to convict them.

Anthony Barnaby, then a 21-year-old downstairs neighbor, was tried three times for his role in the murders, but each time jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. He was released from State Prison in July 1990 after prosecutors declined to put him on trial a fourth time.

David Caplin, then 27 and a friend of Barnaby, was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, but he was never brought to trial after his lawyers convinced a Hillsborough County Superior Court judge to suppress key evidence against him – a ruling later upheld by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

That all changed Monday, when Barnaby and Caplin were arrested in Canada and charged once again with the murders of Ranstrom, 48, and Warner, 32, on that autumn night. Prosecutors are now working with Canadian authorities to seek extradition in order to try each of them on two counts of first-degree murder here in New Hampshire.

Much of the credit for this turn of events, we’re happy to say, goes to the hard work of the Nashua Police Department and the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit, which was created by state legislation in July 2009.

The four-person unit, which is funded with federal stimulus money through 2013, is charged with working exclusively on the estimated 120 homicides and suspicious deaths that have gone unsolved during the past 40 years.

The unit’s first major breakthrough came last summer with the arrest of a former New Hampshire man in West Sacramento, Calif., in connection with the death of a Keene couple and their two young daughters in January 1989.

Now, nine months later, the cold case squad may be close to finding justice for the families of the two Nashua women, thanks to major advances in DNA analysis in the past two decades and interviews with witnesses – some old, some new – since the case was reopened late last year at the urging of Nashua police Detective Sgt. Frank Bourgeois.

The Telegraph has been a strong advocate of this unit since then-state Rep. Peyton Hinkle, R-Merrimack, sponsored legislation to establish it two years ago.

We took a special interest in his bill – and published a two-day series timed to coincide with its initial legislative hearing – because it was prompted in part by the unsolved murder of two Merrimack teens whose bodies were discovered in Candia in 1973. Unfortunately, that case remains unsolved.

Obviously, it’s much too soon to say whether the unit’s hard work will pay off with convictions in the Ranstrom-Warner murders.

But as reported elsewhere in today’s paper, news of the arrests already has rekindled hope in the victims’ families that even now, after all these years, justice might still be done.

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2012

Contact:
Jeffery A. Strelzin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Susan G. Morrell, Senior Assistant Attorney General
(603) 271-3671
jeffery.strelzin@doj.nh.gov

Arrest Made in Cold Case Murder From 2001 in Auburn, New Hampshire

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn, and Auburn Police Chief Edward Picard, announce that an arrest has been made in a murder from 2001.

Arthur Collins, age 43, of 113 Conant Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, has been arrested and charged with alternative counts of Second-Degree Murder. The charges are for knowingly and/or recklessly causing the death of George Jodoin, age 50, of Auburn, New Hampshire, by shooting Jodoin multiple times in the head and neck with a firearm. 
George Jodoin’s murder occurred on or about December 26, 2001, at Mr. Jodoin’s home at 718 Chester Road in Auburn. Mr. Jodoin’s body was discovered the next day by a friend. Despite a concerted effort to solve the case, no arrest was made and the case lay dormant for several years.

In July 2009, a bill creating New Hampshire’s first Cold Case Unit to investigate unresolved homicides and suspicious deaths was enacted. In September 2011, the Cold Case Unit reopened the Jodoin murder case and began reinvestigating the case. That investigation led to today’s arrest, which is the culmination of a cooperative effort by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit, and the Auburn Police Department.

The defendant is expected to be arraigned on the murder charges in the Candia District Court at 10:00 a.m., on Thursday, May 17th, 2012.

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2012

Contact:
Jeffery A. Strelzin, Senior Assistant Attorney General
(603) 271-3671
jeffery.strelzin@doj.nh.gov

Cold Case Murder of John Pond, Sr. from September 1990 in Salem, New Hampshire Has Been Solved

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Salem Police Chief Paul T. Donovan announce that the September 1990 murder of John Pond, Sr. in Salem, New Hampshire has been solved. However, no arrest will be made and no prosecution commenced because the perpetrator of the murder died in 2004.

Murder case from 1969 next for cold case unit

By JAMES A. KIMBLE

Union Leader Correspondent

SALEM — Salem police said they are ready to take on their next cold case after announcing this week that they solved the 1990 murder of a wheelchair-bound man who was stabbed in his home.

Police are now taking steps to exhume the body of an unidentified man found on Aug. 7, 1969, along Interstate 93.

The man died from apparent gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

Capt. James Chase said the body has never been identified but recent advances in technology may help investigators with answers about the homicide.

Preliminary work on the 1969 case — mostly paperwork at this point — has been happening while wrapping up the homicide of John Pond Sr.

On Monday, Salem police announced it solved the Sept. 19, 1990 murder of Pond Sr., 26, who was found stabbed to death in his apartment.

In 2009, Chase teamed up with retired Salem Police Detective Paul Marchand to solve the 22-year-old mystery, leading to a months-long probe that culled new DNA evidence and an investigative grand jury.

Mark Craig, 37, of Concord was named as the killer on Monday. Craig died of a drug overdose at a Concord halfway house in 2004, investigators said.

The Pond case was the first time New Hampshire closed a murder case by assembling evidence against a deceased suspect.

Police said this week they’re ready to see if they can repeat their success with the unsolved 1969 killing.

NH Cold Case Unit page on the 1969 murder.

The unidentified victim was shot four times — twice in the head, once in the torso and once in the neck, according to investigators. The body was found on the side of the interstate between the Pelham Road exit ramp and Rockingham Boulevard.

“We don’t know why he was dumped there,” Chase said on Monday.

Chase recently found where the body had been buried in an unmarked grave. The state Medical Examiner’s Office also recently agreed to conduct a new autopsy, according to Chase.

Chase has been in contact with another expert to see if the skull of the body can be reconstructed as part of an effort to identify the man.

If any DNA could be extracted from the remains, it could be entered into a national database, Chase said.

Investigators believe the man was between the ages of 28 to 40, stood about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed about 225 pounds. The body was in a state of decomposition when it was discovered by a road work crew. It was in a water-filled pit on the side of the road, according to the state’s Cold Case web site.

Chase said the Pond case was challenging because the investigation required proving beyond any doubt that Craig was the sole perpetrator of the crime.

If Chase continues with the 1969 homicide, he will have to overcome a new potential hurdle — his recent promotion to captain of the patrol division.

When Chase reopened the Pond case three years ago, he was a detective sergeant. Despite the added responsibilities, Chase said he wants to continue working on the unsolved case — and maybe recruit a detective to help him.

 

(Maddie Hanna can be reached at 369-3321 or mhanna@cmonitor.com.)  Concord Monitor

Lawmakers said they believe the cold case unit is worth continuing – they just aren’t sure who will pay for it.

“If we could find some way to find dedicated funds somewhere in government, that would be excellent, because the unit really has done, I think, a tremendous job,” said Rep. Steve Shurtleff, a Concord Democrat who serves on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and is one of the sponsors of the bill continuing the cold case unit.

But “in a tough budget year where we saw a lot of cuts, there was nobody in the majority who was interested in putting forth legislation to provide funding,” Shurtleff said.

Rep. David Welch, a Kingston Republican who also sponsored the bill, said the committee considered proposing money for the unit, “but we felt as though that wouldn’t fly.” They settled on a bill that would at least allow the unit to exist after next year.

“If they’re hot on the trail of solving a case and all it takes is money to extend it, I’m sure they’ll find a way to do it,” Welch said.

If a new witness comes forward in a cold case, “we’re not going to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t do that,’ ” Strelzin said. “It just means we’re not going to be able to go back, open up a cold case and put a lot of resources into it.”

In the 12 years before the unit was formed, Strelzin said the attorney general’s office prosecuted four cold cases: James Whittey, convicted in 2002 for the 1981 murder of Yvonne Fine; Lucille Sanchez, convicted in 2003 for the 1989 murder of Lucienne Lemaire; George Knickerbocker, convicted in 2004 for the 1981 murder of Adam Robbins; and Eric Windhurst, convicted in 2006 for the 1985 murder of Danny Paquette.

The two prosecutions the cold case unit has brought forward “may not sound like a lot,” Strelzin said. But compared to four in 12 years, “it does typically work better if you can focus,” he said.

The unit’s work is important on principle, Strelzin said.

“Murder is one of the worst crimes that someone can commit,” he said. “So the idea that if someone just waits long enough, they can get away with it is a terrible concept.”

For families of victims, some of whom call the unit often, “knowing that their loved one’s case is not sitting in a box on a back shelf somewhere collecting dust gives them satisfaction,” Gilbert said.

If the unit shuts down next year, the Pishons won’t stop seeking tips in Curt Pishon’s case. They want the person responsible for his disappearance brought to justice, and they want to find his remains. A gravestone marks his place at the state veterans cemetery in Boscawen.

“For all those reasons, we’d like to have the cold case squad continue to exist just on the chance they might be able to do something,” Nick Pishon, Curt’s father, said. “While they’ve got a lot of cases and very little to go on, it’s better than nothing. Just barely.”

 

 

2 thoughts on “UPDATE ON NEW HAMPSHIRE COLD CASE UNIT”

  1. doesn’t seem McLeod will ever see a courtroom ? this list is getting longer , Stacey Burns, Bobie Miller, Celina Cass and on and on…….

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    1. As far as I know David McLeod is still waiting trial. I know of a case (not in NH) a man just went to trial after seven years. Most likely the defense attorney delayed the trial to obtain more materials to build their case. The prosecution team must be ready for trial within ninety days of the arrest. I agree with you that the numbers of cold cases are growing. That’s why a cold case unit is important. As a case grows older less time is spent on it daily, new cases take over. Law enforcement may say they are actively working a case but it is a far cry from when the investigation first began. I believe most become a cold case within the first two to three years.

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