Cold Case Task Force established

Published 12:01 am Saturday, March 23, 2013

A new 15-member Covington County Cold Case Task Force has been established; however, officials are tight-lipped as to exactly what they’ve been investigating.

District Attorney Walt Merrell made the announcement via press release at 5 p.m. Friday, stating the team has been in existence for “about two months now, and began investigating its first cold case approximately one month ago”

“The objective of this Cold Case Task Force is to review and reinvestigate older, unsolved, major crimes that occurred in Covington County,” Merrell said. “We will focus our efforts on violent crimes. The Cold Case Task Force is actively involved in an investigation at present, though no details regarding that investigation will be released. We will confirm that recent excavation activity in Gantt was conducted by members of this Cold Case Task Force. To what end or what result, we will not confirm.”

The Cold Case Task Force is made up of investigators and officers from the following departments: the DA’s office, the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, the Andalusia, Opp and Florala police departments, the Alabama Beverage Control Board – District 8, the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, the Covington County Emergency Management Agency, the Enterprise Police Department and the Houston County Sheriff’s Department. The names of the officers and/or investigators participating will not be released, Merrell said.

“This is, perhaps, the finest, most well rounded, group of criminal investigators I’ve ever seen assembled for one common purpose,” he said. “Our purpose is to seek and find justice for victims and their families.”

Merrell said the task force will limit its operations to one or two cases at a time.

“There will be no further public comment about this Cold Case Task Force or its ongoing investigations unless arrests are made.” Merrell said. “Our silence is an effort to maintain the integrity of the investigations and to preserve the privacy of the families involved.

“We respectfully and humbly request that the public be patient in its curiosity, deliberate to avoid rumors and understanding with its expectations as to the timeliness of our progress,” he said.