A look inside Montgomery County’s cold case unit

The Montgomery County Cold Case Task Force has solved 10 cases so far.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 8:18 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:30 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Investigator Antony Shannon keeps a box of files close to his desk. It’s filled with case files, specifically cold cases. Different faces, victims and stories. And he’s tasked with solving them and bringing their families justice.

“A lot goes into working cold cases, a lot, and we are working very hard to solve these. And if can bring the family closure, that means the world to me,” Shannon said.

He is the only full-time investigator for the Montgomery County Cold Case Task Force. Part of his job includes collaborating with various agencies like the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Montgomery Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Shannon spends most of his days combing through files, reaching out to witnesses and tracking down leads. It’s tedious but necessary work.

“There’s a lot of reading, going back to the communities, talking to a lot of people, passing out business cards, trying to get information and trying to make those cases hot again,” he said.

The box at Montgomery County’s cold case unit is filled with hundreds of cases. Some of them date back to the 1970s. Shannon admits the older cases can be a little more difficult. But thankfully, new forensic technology helps. And when he hears about cases like the “Opelika Baby Jane Doe” case being solved, he’s encouraged.

“The new DNA technology really is a great thing. And hearing about other cold cases being solved is encouraging. It motivates you to keep going,” Shannon said.

So far, the “fairly new” task force has solved 10 cases. They formed the unit in 2019 as a way to help detectives and support these families.

“We want to let these families know that we have not forgotten,” Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey previously said.

“The turnaround ratio at police departments nationwide is high right now,” Shannon said. “It’s hard to find and keep someone on force dedicated to just cold cases. It’s not the easiest and you lose sleep at night over all the cases because you’re passionate about what you do and you want to bring those families closure.”

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