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Local expert joins statewide cold case team

Posted: 2:22 AM, Sep 30, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-30 02:22:11-04
Identifying human remains is something Erin Kimmerle has been doing at USF for more than eight years.  
 
"Ultimately it's about finding that closure and resolution for families because if someone's missing then someone's missing them," Kimmerle said.
    
She has led excavation and identification teams in several big local cases.
    
She and her USF team helped identify more than 50 remains in the Dozier School for Boys case.  Some of her work has led to arrests.  Kimmerle is now taking her forensic anthropology skills to the state level.  
 
The Florida Sheriff's Association is putting together a cold case review team, the first of it's kind in the state.  
 
Volunteer homicide detectives, medical examiners, prosecutors, DNA scientists and forensic experts will meet four times a year reviewing cold murder cases from  around Florida.  Kimmerle was one of the first from Tampa to volunteer.
 
"So what we're able to do is apply scientific methods we have today that probably weren't available 20, 30, 40 years ago to these long term cases," Kimmerle said.
 
Kimmerle tells us in Florida there are more than 850 unidentified people, mostly from homicides. That's only an estimate because no one has been tracking these numbers statewide.  In the Tampa Bay area, there are more than 500 unsolved old murder cases.  The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office alone has about 250.
 
While some law enforcement agencies have cold case units, the new statewide team can offer relief to those that don't and offer guidance to those that do from some of the best experts in the state.