Texas AG Ken Paxton announces formation of Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit


FILE – In this file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during a hearing in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the formation of the “Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit” to support Texas law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting unsolved cases, including homicides, missing persons and similar cases around human identification and forensic genealogy. There are currently more than 19,200 unsolved homicide cases in Texas.

“The Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit will bring cases that have been left behind – whether that is due to limited resources or insufficient funding – and bring them back into the light,” Paxton said in a press release. “This unit is a first step in getting closure for many families across our state. I look forward to the unit sharing its expertise with local law enforcement to provide investigative assistance and opportunities for training and science education.”

An advisory committee of investigators, forensic scientists, victim advocates and other experts will assisting and providing guidance to the unit in current trends and practices when investigating unsolved cases.

The unit partnered with the Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Unit for its first case in investigating the death of Thomas Brown of Canadian, Texas. Currently, this case will be suspended until more evidence is discovered, as it remains a questionable death investigation without enough evidence to rule it as a criminal act, an accidental death or a suicide. 

According to a survey sent from the unit to law enforcement agencies in Texas, about 94% of the 390 agencies surveyed said their department does not have a designated team assigned full-time to work on unsolved cases.

More information about the new unit, educational resources and resources for families of missing persons and cold cases can be found on the Texas Attorney General website.

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