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Cold Cases Of The Mansfield Police Department

Story By: Brian Skowronski



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  Original Published: 2/6/2013

When accidents or crimes, typically of a crude or violent nature go unsolved by the Mansfield Police Department, these criminal investigations then become "cold cases" until new evidence develops. There are currently 14 cold cases being handled by the Mansfield Police Department right now, some of which date back to the early 1960's.

Lt. John Wendling has spent nearly 45 years with the Mansfield Police Department and has seen many of these cases come across his desk.

"What's frustrating is to know who did it and proving who did it because it's two different scenarios. There's cases we know who did this but at this point can't prove it right now, but you don't forget it." Wendling said.

Wendling recalled a case from the 1970's where a serial rapist murdered a woman in a wooded area in Mansfield and went missing for nearly 25 years. The man responsible for the crime was later arrested in Louisiana for a similar crime and through hard police work and a couple trips down to the Big Easy, Wendling was able to connect the man to the Mansfield rapes and murder, producing a confession.

A relatively new technology to law enforcement however, has been producing leads and arrests for Wendling and the rest of the police department for a number of years now. Chemist Tony Tambasco is a forensic specialist in Mansfield, who is considered one of the best at his craft in the entire country.

Tambasco is able to take artifacts from crime scenes and analyze them for DNA evidence, which have lead to many arrests.

One such case Tambasco helped crack was a homicide in Richland County just a couple years ago. All that was left at the crime scene was a cigarette butt, a live round and a spent casing and through DNA analysis of the cigarette Tambasco was able to produce the identity of the criminal and the victim.

"DNA's a wondeful tool. It will solve a crime that's dead cold in the water and it will also give you some pieces to the puzzle that will help solve the investigation."Tambasco said.

Tambasco also mentioned that evidence from some local cold cases dating back nearly 30 years are currently being analyzed and perhaps some pieces to those puzzles will begin to come together.  


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