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Sheriff creates cold case unit for 200 plus unsolved homicides
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San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow delivered on a campaign promise on Monday when he announced that the agency he oversees will launch a cold case unit.

According to a press release distributed by the sheriff’s office, Detective Sergeant Linda Jimenez and Detective Irene Shelvay have been assigned to a new unit that will attempt to clear some of the unsolved cases that have been leave families without justice for more than 50 years.

Jimenez has been working on cold cases since October of last year and has gathered information on more than 200 unsolved homicides and 150 missing persons cases and sexual assault cases dating back to 1964.

At the end of the day, it’s all about giving families closure – whether they choose to utilize the new services of the department.

“Our first priority is to reach out to victim’s families and determine what involvement they still want in the case,” the announcement read. “Some may have found peace and being part of the investigation will open old wounds. Others are desperately seeking answers and we want to do everything we can to provide those answers.

“We want to establish a point of contact with the families – one person to keep open the line of communication between them and us.”

Starting very soon, families connected to unsolved homicides and missing persons cases will begin receiving letters informing them of the new development and asking whether they want to be involved with a renewed investigation into the case.

And because in some of these cases, so much time has elapsed tracking down family members might not be the easiest thing in the world to do.

To combat that, the new unit is seeking information from the public and from families that may be of assistance or want to be notified about progress in cases that are being investigated.

With modern investigative techniques and advances in science, cases that were long-ago dismissed have an actual chance at clearance.

“Sgt. Jimenez and Det. Shelvay have much to consider as they build and improve this new unit,” the release read, “including the changing of technology and improvement in using new DNA techniques to solve crimes that were impossible to resolve a short time ago.”

Anybody with information about possible family members involved with unsolved homicide cases or anybody with information about potential cold cases that would like to participate in the process is encouraged to reach out to the unit by emailing or call 209.468.5087.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.