BURLINGTON, Ky. — Terry Hand. William and Peggy Stephenson.
These are just three of those whom communities in Boone County have lost in recent years, with no explanation as to why, their cases gone cold.
But now, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office has ramped up efforts to solve long-cold homicides with the launch of a new criminal investigation unit.
Major Tom Scheben announced Friday the creation of a dedicated Cold Case Unit within the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division. For the unit, Sheriff Michael Helmig appointed two detectives, Sergeant Tim Adams and Detective Coy Cox.
According to Scheben, Adams and Cox began compiling and organizing evidence for six unsolved homicides dating back to 1979 nearly two months ago. Those investigations, Scheben said, are now in full swing.
“Sheriff Helmig understands homicide makes a community acutely aware of trauma and loss from within,” Scheben said in a statement Friday morning. “It isn’t an act that simply stays between the immediate parties involved.”
Scheben’s announcement comes in conjunction with National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, a national commemoration established by Congress in 2007.
It’s a memorial with local roots. Following the 1978 murder of their 19-year-old daughter Lisa, Robert and Charlotte Hullinger of Cincinnati formed the group Parents of Murdered Children. September 25 is the day Lisa was murdered while studying abroad in Germany.
One such cold case in Boone County, Scheben said, is the 2013 disappearance of Terry Hand. Investigators suspected foul play in the 41-year-old’s disappearance, who was noticed to be missing when he began missing days of work.
Another case out of Boone County that has gone unsolved concerns the deaths of William and Peggy Stephenson, found dead by a family member in their Florence, Kentucky, home after William — who went by Bill — did not show up for a church service one Sunday morning in 2011.
Tune in to 9 On Your Side’s The Now at 4 p.m. for reactions from Hand’s family members on what re-opening their loved one’s case means to them.