Cards catching killers: How police use this deck of cards to solve cold cases

Push to get FDLE playing cards back in prisons

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It may look like a regular deck of cards, four suits, 52 altogether. But the purpose is no game. Cold case cards feature different victims of unsolved homicides in one county, along with a brief description of their cases. Police sell them to inmates in their local detention centers in hopes it will generate new information.

“They symbolize a chance where right now there is no chance,” Diane McMinn said.

McMinn lost her husband, Cecil Patrick McMinn in October 1995. She said he left work on a Friday morning and never came home. According to police, he was found shot to death inside his vehicle in the 7100 block of Ramona Boulevard in Jacksonville. A suspect has never been identified.

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McMinn was one of 52 local murder victims to go in the latest edition of the Duval County deck. His wife said she hopes this will reach someone with answers about his case.

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“It would be priceless,” Diane McMinn said. “If only one person, one case could be solved, of course we all want it to be ours, but if one case was solved. You can’t put a money value on that.”

“It gives hope to people like me that have no hope,” Cheryl Turner said.

Turner lost her younger sister, Teryl Lynn Orcutt, in January 1990. She is also featured in the latest edition of the Duval County deck.

According to police, Orcutt was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s house. Her car was later discovered along County Road 218 in Middleburg, still running. Turner said her sister was found stabbed and beaten to death in the woods nearby. Her case has run cold for nearly 30 years.

“These cards might bring someone that heard something out of the woodwork,” Turner said. “To give these people’s a piece of mind, answer their prayers.”

Action News Jax found nearly 1,500 homicide cases are unsolved in Duval County. Find each of their faces here.

Founder and executive director of Project Cold Case, Ryan Backmann, said they are working to bring these cards back to Florida prisons.

“If you’re looking at it from an investigative tool, you’re getting people talking, you’re getting people coming forward with information that maybe investigators didn’t have,” Backmann said.

In the past, First Coast Crime Stoppers funded the production of the Duval County deck. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement partnered with the Department of Corrections to generate four separate decks for the state.

In July 2007, FDLE said about 100,000 decks were distributed to inmates in state prisons. Two cases were solved as a result, the murder of James Foot and the murder of Ingrid Lugo.

Another edition has not been released in Florida for about 11 years. Now, Project Cold Case is working to bring them back.

“It’s a burden, it’s overwhelming, and it can sometimes be very intimidating but it’s not going away,” Backmann said. “So you have to just address it head-on. And this is as good of way as any right now to get out into the public eye and hope to resolve them.”

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