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Iowa cold case bill gets full Iowa Senate support

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) – In a 46-0 vote, Senate File 561 passed in hopes of creating a dedicated cold case unit with the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

"A similar unit existed for 3 years up until a decade ago, and some cold cases, as far back as 40 years, were solved," said sponsor Senator Jeff Taylor, a Republican from Sioux County.

The bill will create a dedicated cold case unit under the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation. It would consist of 2 special agents to pursue past killings regardless of when they occurred.

"They're solvable. We just need to look into them," said Drew Collins, who's no stranger to the unsolved.

Collins daughter, Elizabeth, and her cousin, Lyric, were kidnapped and murdered more than 8 years ago. The tragedy of the Evansdale girls remains an emotional scar for the Cedar Valley. The case remains unsolved.

Since the girls' deaths, Collins has channeled his grief into advocating for not only his girls but families who deal with similar situations.

"It's the first thing you think about in the morning, it's the last thing you think about at night," said Collins.

There are dozens of cases in Black Hawk County alone, the oldest from 1908. Surrounded by posters of other local cold cases, Collins said, to him, the idea of a state funded cold case unit is good news.

"When another murder happens or when some other case happens, it takes them away from these other cases. I would like to see them get even more involved with some of these other cases,” Collins said.

He adds he hopes to see more agents added to the unit in the future if it's created. The bill will increase the cost to the DPS by an estimated $298,600 in FY 2023 and $138,400 in FY 2024.

Collins wants more Iowans to consider reporting to Crime Stoppers anonymously, if they know who's responsible, and hopes people realize that rewards are available.

If you have any information regarding the girls' killing or any of the other cold cases, please contact your local crime stoppers or police department.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers wholeheartedly supports any effort to fund the investigation of these unsolved cases. With the continuous advancements that are being made in the world of science we believe these cases should be revisited periodically in an effort to give the victim and their families the justice they deserve.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers

While unsolved, Collins doesn't believe the girls' case has gone cold.

"Ours is very active but a lot of these people behind me, their cases aren't because they haven't had any clues or tips come in for years. So these families just suffer,” Collins said.

The bill was introduced Wednesday and referred to the House Appropriations Committee. The Iowa legislature is expected to adjourn before the end of the month.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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