Kan. LE issue cold case playing cards to inmates to generate new leads

Each playing card features information about the case and a tip line phone number

By Suzie Ziegler 

TOPEKA, Kan. — Law enforcement and corrections officials in Kansas are set to launch an unconventional campaign to solicit new leads on cold cases. Kansas inmates across the state will soon be issued a special playing card deck that features information about unsolved crimes, the Salina Post reported. 

Each playing card features details about the case, including victim photos and a tip line phone number. The new decks will replace the standard playing cards available in prisons and jails across the state, according to the report. Law enforcement officials hope the playing cards will generate new leads by encouraging inmates to come forward. 

“Our staff members see the unresolved pain experienced by the many families we work with,” said Kansas Secretary of Corrections Jeff Zmuda. “Hearing the responses from surviving family members when notified that their loved one’s case has been selected for the deck has been powerful and humbling. These families have waited a long time for answers and this brings some hope.” 

According to Zmuda, other states have had success using playing cards to help solve cold cases. 

“Not every tip received leads to resolution of a case, but someone usually knows something,” Zmuda said. “Within Kansas correctional facilities and jails, we have segments of our population who want to do something good, perhaps atone for past mistakes, and they may have information about unsolved cases. Our hope is that we receive actionable intelligence that leads to solving cases.” 

Local law enforcement across Kansas suggested 81 cases to highlight, and a committee of corrections and police officials selected 59 cases to feature in the card deck. 

“For many of these cases even after years of investigative work has occurred, questions still remain that need answers before a perpetrator can be held accountable,” said Kirk Thompson, director of the KBI. “It’s our hope that by distributing this deck more attention is drawn to these cases, and that someone comes forward with details that will move us one step closer to providing justice.” 

The playing cards initiative is sponsored by the Kansas DOC and Kansas Bureau of Investigation in sponsorship with the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Sheriff’s Association and the Kansas Peace Officers Association.


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