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Phoenix Police seeing benefits of tech advances with cold cases

PHOENIX -- DNA technology is helping police solve more cold cases and it's not just on television.

Last week, 58-year-old Cudellious Love was arrested at his north Phoenix home and was charged in the 1989 murder and rape of Laura Hunding in Phoenix.

Police Sgt. Troy Hillman said the department has about 2,500 cold cases on the books but DNA technology is helping to solve more and more of these cases. Forty-five such cases have been solved since 2009 because of DNA matches.

"We're going to keep trying and we're proud of the number of cases we've solved," Hillman said.

Cold cases can be solved without DNA using fingerprints and other evidence but some jurors want the "CSI" effect.

"They want that DNA and not all cases have it. Some are based on fingerprints, some on circumstantial evidence, and some cases have witness testimony."

Despite advances, some cold cases will still be difficult if not impossible to solve.

"Some of the cases have minimal evidence and nobody is talking. We struggle with it," he said.

But the struggle is worth the reward when the department can deliver the news to families that a suspect has been arrested.

"At least they can hold someone accountable. These are families that have had difficulty making memories and living their lives because of this person," Hillman said.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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