WEST PALM BEACH, Fl - In Sergeant Bill Springer's office, the boxes are starting to get packed up. They'll soon be filled with 30 years of memories from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. But before Sergeant Springer retires at the end of the month, there is still work to be done.
Sergeant Springer is standing in a small conference room getting set to address the media. He wants to get an update out to the public about two cold cases from 2004.
In July of that year, the body of 42 year-old Vincent Nelson was dumped along Lake Shore Drive in Riviera Beach. He had been shot multiple times.
Three days later John Jenkins, an Army reservist and father of four, had just walked his wife to her car so she could go be with her ailing mother. As he returned to his Lake park apartment, he confronted two men who had just robbed another home.
The men stole a necklace from Jenkins, then killed him. Detectives identified Eddie Mitchell and Cortez Eagle as possible suspects, but cops need more information to help them build their case.
"Both our victims are what we classify as innocent victims," said Sergeant Springer.
Since its founding six years ago, Sgt. Springer's Cold Case Unit has solved 21 crimes. It's the kind of crime solving that when you don't have a murder weapon 90-percent of the time, takes a lot of patience.
"You've got to have a lot of tenacity because a lot of these cases go on for years," adds Springer.
One case the sergeant is most proud of is the work done in the Kizzie Brooms case. The 5 year-old West Palm Beach girl was killed back in 1985. In 2007, advanced DNA technology allowed Springer to positively identify the killer whom he had long suspected. Unfortunately, William Barrow died before Springer could get the satisfaction of an arrest.
"The science has made this job a lot more interesting. If we had some of this science back in the '80s.. we would have solved a lot more cases."
But Springer says you can't overlook old fashioned detective work, which has allowed him to bring closure to many families.
Now, like his idol Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, Sergeant Springer has put his time and is ready to move on.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W . Scripps Company and Angie's List
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