AISOCC Partners up with the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’

AISOCC continues to get the best cold case investigators in the world and once again strikes gold with their partnership with one of the founding members of the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, Tom Hall. The ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ are all retired law enforcement officers and first came together as the cold case squad in Roseburg, OR in December of 2002. They were the first all volunteer retired law enforcement cold case squad in the country.  They were given the name the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ by local media after they solved their first case; the 35 year old murder of Benny King, in Roseburg,  OG.  tom_hall_02

The name, ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, came primarily as the result of how they dressed: Wrangler jeans, western shirts, cowboy hats and boots.  This was no doubt influenced in part by their collective backgrounds. The name ‘Cold Case Cowboys’ also fit because it reflected their love of the American Cowboy persona; good over evil, right and wrong, love of God, family, community and country. 

As the ‘Cold Case Cowboys’, they solved three cold cases within their first three years of working together.  This brought them a lot of local attention, but then they hit the front page of the L.A. Times and that created a real firestorm of media attention; from news organizations, print media, radio, TV news magazines and even Hollywood. 

Tom has joined AISOCC and will undoubtedly bring his dedication, knowledge and passion for standing up for what is right to our organization.

Tom began his federal law enforcement career in 1973 after graduating on the Dean’s honor list, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, from California State University, Sacramento. He spent the next 26 ½ years as a U.S. Postal Inspector. For the first 13 years, in Los Angeles, CA, he investigated a variety of Postal related cases to include mail theft and mail fraud. Later, as a member of the major crimes team he investigated robbery, burglary, and homicide, but specialized in mail bombs. As a 20-year member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) he has over 600 hours of bomb training and has qualified to testify in federal court as a mail bomb expert. He transferred to Phoenix, AZ in 1986 where he spent the next 6+ years. Investigations included internal Postal theft in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as credit card and “identity theft.” He also performed the collateral duties of public information officer and postal facility security specialist. Tom completed his career as a supervisor, team leader, for another 6+ years, in Sacramento, CA. He retired in December of 1999 and moved back “home” to Roseburg, Oregon.

As a subject matter expert, (SME), Tom was an instructor for the Postal Inspection Service crime scene investigation, (CSI), and bomb scene investigation schools. He was also an instructor in threat management and violence in the workplace.

Tom rode in the annual Hashknife Pony Express re-enactment from Hollbrook to Scottsdale, AZ for 10 years. The ‘Ride’ takes place every January and is put on by the U.S. Postal Service and the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue posse.  After three days in the saddle, their arrival at the Scottsdale Post Office is the official kick-off to the Parada Del Sole, (Parade of the Sun). The Hashknife Pony Express is the only re-enactment where the participants are sworn in as mail carriers and carry live U.S. Mail.

Tom currently lives in Umpqua, OR with his wife Diane in the mountains up from the Main Umpqua River, famous for salmon and steelhead fishing. Diane doesn’t care much for the fishing, but loves the peace and quiet of the mountains and the forest of Douglas fir. She says it’s like living in a world of Christmas trees. Both love country music and dancing. After all, she found him in a country bar, and after a couple of turns around the hardwood she said, “yep, he’ll do.” … That was over 25 years ago.

AISOCC now has a Cold Case Cowboy to go along with their star-studded lineup of crime-fighters and truth seekers, continuing the AISOCC tradition of getting the best in the world to fight cold cases.

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AISOCC President Kenneth L. Mains Talks Cold Cases

Ken Mains

“You sit and stare at their pictures. You breathe the same rarefied air they took their last breath with. Your reality becomes a fantasy. You try to picture yourself there…seeing it through their eyes. You feel their fright and the hands around your own neck. They are your victims. Taken from this world way to soon, mothers, fathers, brothers and daughters alike. Fate doesn’t care who it takes off of this earth as long as it balances out in the end.”

That is how Detective Kenneth L. Mains describes how he feels when he investigates an unsolved cold case. He continues:

“That is where I have a problem with fate….it never balances out in the end. There is always a void, a deep lasting sickness you feel when you can’t bring the victim back to the loved ones that have lost them. I want to go kick in the door, smack around the bad guy and rescue the victims from their evil capture. I want to carry the victim through the door and bring them, home to their loved ones. That is what I want and what I envision. That however, is not reality.”

When asked what a detective is and does Mains went on to say:

“A detective is different from any other position or job. It requires that you be well versed in many disciplines to include behavioral and forensic sciences, investigations, forensic pathology and knowledge of the legal profession. You as a detective, see human beings at their most vulnerable position ever in life….and that is death. You as a detective, have to meet the parents of these dead humans and tell them you will do everything in your power to solve this case. It is a huge responsibility. You look in their eyes, but peripherally you see the pictures of their dead son or daughter on the walls behind them and it makes you feel for the parents. I don’t care how ‘hard’ you think you are…it will always tug at your heart. These family members have a different look in their eyes. They have a look of desperation. They look at you and they put their entire faith in you. They want you to solve this case. How can you not be motivated by that? So in turn, you work that case until you die! That’s what I do. I do it for the victims who don’t have a voice. I do it for the family and friends of the loved ones because that is what Detectives do. At least I feel that is what good Detectives do. Good Detectives never turn it off. They think about the victims when they are shopping at Lowes or when they are fishing or when they lay down at night to sleep. You are always thinking about who, what, why and how the crime occurred. My mind is always spinning and trying to deduce the possibilities in order to solve the case. Because the bottom line is that is the business we are in. We are in the business of solving cases.”

Detective Kenneth L. Mains is dedicated. He investigates the unsolved. He is a detective. He closes out by saying:

“After I meet the parents of a victim of homicide I want to do nothing more than to solve the case and bring them closure. You feel their pain, their desolation and despair. You can see it in their eyes as they put their entire faith in you. They want you to rid them of this sickening feeling of loss and solve the case. That my friend is called pressure. That my friends is cold case investigations. Welcome to my world.”

Our website has been updated!

AISOCC logo

Our website has been updated with the latest information. Updates are posted about the changes in the Board of Directors and the AISOCC Committees

The consulting committee members have been split up by specialty, and a page has been added to showcase the members’ publications.

The general membership page has also been updated and we thank all these members for their support and dedication to justice.

Information about the first annual conference held May 12-14, 2014 can be found here.

The AISOCC also has a Facebook page so if you use FB, give us the thumbs up!

The Cold Case of Amy Mihaljevic (Dec 11, 1978 – Oct 27, 1989)

Amy Mihaljevic

Amy Mihaljevic

The Bay Village PD, The FBI, and The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office (Cleveland, OH) are seeking to identify attempted or actual child abduction cases occurring as a result of perpetrator initiated interaction with victim similar to the approach described below:

On 10/27/1989, 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was abducted from Bay Square Shopping Center, Bay Village, Ohio. Amy left school at 2:05 pm and walked ¼ mile to the shopping center. Amy was last seen outside a business at Bay Square between 2:15 and 2:30 pm.

Amy’s mother, Margaret Mihaljevic, received her usual check‐in telephone call while at work from Amy between 3:10 – 3:40 pm. The call was later than usual but Margaret assumed Amy was at home. The offender and Amy were likely together at the time of this call, with the offender allowing Amy to contact Margaret to maintain a normal routine. Margaret returned home from work at 5:30 pm and reported Amy missing.

Two witnesses observed a white male interacting with Amy at Bay Square Shopping Center. The abductor spoke with Amy and directed her towards the parking lot with his hand on her shoulder. The abductor was described as 5’8” – 5’10”, medium build, dark hair, 30‐40 years of age, and possibly wearing glasses. No vehicle was observed.

Weeks prior to the abduction Amy told a friend that she had received a telephone call from someone who “worked with Amy’s mother”. The caller wanted help from Amy to pick out a gift for her mother, indicating Amy’s Mom had done something good at work. Amy told her friend she was responsible for keeping this secret because she was better at keeping secrets than Jason, her 13-year-old brother.

On 2/8/1990, Amy’s body was discovered in a farm field adjacent to County Road 1181 in rural Ashland County, Ohio. The body disposal site which afforded extended visibility in all directions is about 50 miles southwest of the abduction site. The body was re‐dressed in the same clothing the victim was last known to be wearing, except for missing shoes and earrings. The partially skeletonized body exhibited stab wounds to the throat and blunt trauma to the rear head. Advanced decomposition precluded determination of sexual assault.

If you have information call 1‐800‐CALL‐FBI or email ptorsney@cityofbayvillage.com.

Welcome Andrew Reitnauer

The AISOCC welcomes Andrew Reitnauer as new consulting member.

Andrew is a Forensic Scientist III and Section Supervisor of the Latent Print Section at the Nassau County Office of the Medical Examiner. As technical leader and primary trainer of the section, Andrew is responsible for procedure development, and development of the evidence processing program. He is the President of the New York Division of the International Association for Identification, Chairman of the NY State Technical Working Group on Latent Prints, and member of the NY State Proficiency Test Committee. Andrew is an ASCLD/LAB approved internal auditor for laboratory standards.

Andrew’s expertise include expert witness examination and testimony. He has been a Senior Crime Scene Responder since 2006, Forensic Photographer, and NY AFIS (SABIS) Regional Site Manager. He has three certifications in Latent Print Examination (CLPE through the IAI, CLE and CSLE through the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services) in addition to the Senior Crime Scene Analyst (CSCSA) status with the IAI.

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