LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- It is a major break for police to be able to solve eight murder cases with the arrest of just one man. But more than 400 cases in Louisville remain a mystery, and it can be tough it can be for officers to crack cold cases.
Homicide detectives say they are still working on unsolved murders, some that date back to the 1960s. That is bringing hope to many families who are still searching for closure.
"May be 32 now, my phone's getting burned up," says Sergeant Denny Butler with the LMPD homicide unit. He says more than thirty people have called him in the hours since news broke that Ricky Kelly was charged with eight killings, some dating back to 1996.
Police say it is a reminder that officers are still working to make arrests in cold cases. "I guess it leaves the hope with the families that hey my loved one was killed in 1995 wow they just made an arrest on a 1996 case I'm going to call and make sure they have my name on my son, daughter's case," said Butler.
Last year detectives started organizing homicide cases differently. Detectives are assigned four cold cases each to work on, and now they are all in one database. So far this year they have cracked thirteen cold cases.
Butler credits this new system to the eight murders linked to Kelly. But 405 cases, some dating back to the 1960s, remain a mystery. "But we're not going to forget about it, unsolved homicide in hopes that the piece of the puzzle will come forward."
Even after many years, tips that come in can solve a case that has gone cold. Butler says a high-profile disappearance of a young girl in 1983 is a perfect example. "The Ann Gotlib case, I mean we got tips on that and it was 25 years old, and it was instrumental in us closing that case."
Butler says it is a rewarding job to bring families closure after so many years. "They didn't forget that their loved one was murdered, so they're going to call in and I can only imagine that the eight families from yesterday they're reliving a part of a horror that they went through."
Butler says the anonymous tipline, 574-LMPD, has been very successful for detectives. However, if you are a family member of a murder victim and want to talk directly to homicide detectives that can be arranged when you call in.