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New program can help provide closure for victims families

RCMP Sgt. Dave Darrah knows the names, ages and details of every unsolved missing person or murder in Colchester County. He reviews the files regularly but sometimes these mysterious and ghastly cases go cold.

Investigators rotate through the unit, each with a fresh set of eyes and ideas with the drive to solve the case, but often the extra work leads to a dead end.

There are currently four unsolved cases on the Colchester RCMP books and each name is like a burr in a bonnet - a constant reminder that all is not right in the world of law and order.

Elmer Yuill - shot and killed in 1991 in Old Barns; Randy Mersereaus car found abandoned on the highway six weeks after his Bible Hill business was bombed in 1999; 55-year-old Charles Madisons torched truck discovered in an old gravel pit; the remains of Kevin Martin, just 13 years old, discovered in 2001 in a remote part of Colchester County seven years after he went missing.

The Truro Police Service isnt without its mysteries either. Police tracked Troy Cook to a phone booth eight years ago where he called in sick to work but thats where the trail ends. His father, Tom, still pounds the pavement in search of his missing boy, to no avail.

But Tom is sure someone knows something about the fate of Troy.

Its unbelievable how someone can keep quiet for so long, Tom told the Truro Daily News on the eight-year anniversary of his sons disappearance. We just want closure.

Just maybe a new provincial justice program can provide that closure.

Justice Minister Murray Scott said this week that the province will now pay rewards of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people responsible for major unsolved crimes.

Police agencies have to refer cases to the provinces Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program and those cases will remain in the program until the police ask for them to be removed.

Anyone who has information is expected to give their name and contact information and may be required to testify in court. All calls to the program will be traced and recorded.

A decision to help the police will not come lightly. But the rewards are great for the informant, for the police, but most importantly, for the survivors.

I hope that this program will encourage individuals who may have pertinent information to come forward, said Scott. Through this program, we hope we can help ease some of the uncertainty and grief faced by victims families and friends.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Jan. 7, 2010. 

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