Benton County not giving up on Cold Cases

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Solving murders can be a top priority for police until the trail runs cold. From there, the work is long and expensive. It's why King County recently cut its cold case unit. It was just too expensive.

Detective Lee Cantu sorts through his files... He's read them countless times.

He pulls out a file, "Here's a picture of him."

The case of Juan Antonio Segoviano has been his sole assignment for the past two years. Juan's body was found near an orchard in Finley in a fire summer of 2010.

Cantu says, "We have not forgotten about these cases."

Juan's is one of half-a-dozen unsolved cases considered still active.
Cases like this have gone cold despite investigator's best efforts.

"Lack of suspect information.. Lack of leads," he continues.

Every day that goes makes them harder to solve.

"Evidence deteriorates, witnesses start to move away or even worse," Cantu explains.

Some of the cases in Benton County date all the way to the mid 70's but police say no matter how much time goes by, they're still looking for leads.

"There was a loss of life.. We're gonna work on a case whether it's 2 years old or 30 years old," The detective tells KEPR.

30 years ago police didn't have the technology they have today. DNA and polygraphs have been responsible for catching multiple murderers who would have otherwise gotten away with it.

"We can re-submit evidence with the new technology and it's played a huge role," he says.

But budget cuts have benton county down to just four detectives to work all these time-consuming cold cases.

Cantu looks around, "Certainly it'd be nice if we found a pot of gold somewhere but we that's not gonna happen anytime soon."

Until then, detectives team up with the Metro Drug Task Force and the major crime units within individual cities assist in solving these cases. Years of work could be turned around in just one moment.

"Just need that little key piece of the puzzle to put it all together," Cantu says.

You can contact the Benton County Sheriff's office is you have any information about Segoviano's murder.