Local law enforcement agencies work to break unsolved murder cas - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Local law enforcement agencies work to break unsolved murder cases


Donald Burton and Joseph Greco were murdered in 1959.  Nearly 60 years later, Treesa Wiley met the same fate.  So what do these cases that are decades apart have in common? They were never solved. 

"No case is ever forgotten we're always looking for that piece of information to turn a case around," says Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato. 

The Rockford Police Department says it has 97 unsolved murder cases.  The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office says it has a total of 24.  The earliest, is Burton and Greco who were murdered in 1959.

"Sometimes when your mind clears from that hot case and they're not getting any leads and they revisit it in 'X' amount of time they see it and say 'hey look! We didn't see this, or let's go out and re-interview this person, or this person resurfaced or somebody called and we have this information'," says Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana. 

Caruana started a cold case unit when he became sheriff.  It's made up of detectives and an FBI agent who work to crack these cases. 

"There's no statute of limitation on murder," says Caruana.  "We want to make sure to clear them all up and again its very important to the victim, the victims family."

Caruana says advancements in crime scene testing and technology are helping this fight.  But another key to solving these cases is collaboration between departments.

"There's always a possibility they have an unsolved murder that's related to one of our unsolved murders," says Rockford Police Investigations Bureau Lt. Kurt Whisenand.  "Sometimes when you put your notes together it brings something else to light."

Whisenand says his department and this sheriff's office have a great working relationship.  Sharing tips and leads that will hopefully lead to an arrest. 

"We know the importance closure has for the family and friends of the victim, how it adds to the healing process  to have that individual identified and brought to justice. That's not lost on us as investigators."

If you have any information regarding any of these cases please call the Winnebago County Sheriff's Police Detective Bureau (815-319-6400) or email Cold Cases@wcso-il.us

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