Unsolved Murders in Lansing: Cold Case Detective Yet to Solve Case

Still no arrests in Lansing's first homicide of the year. The fatal shooting happened Sunday night. Besides that case, there are more than 70 other unsolved murder cases sitting in boxes right now at the Lansing Police Department. WILX Amanda Malkowski did some digging to find out why so many cases are still cold. The position of cold case investigator is new for the City of Lansing this fiscal year. We sat down with the man who is in charged with bringing closure to homicide victim's families see what progress is being made.

It's been almost two years since Dana Sanders' 16-year old son Levon Wilson was shot dead in a drive-by, and two years later, police still don't know who's responsible.

"We keep getting information. So far, nothing has let to anything. He was fun-loving. He was caring. He was great. He was a great kid. He was just in the wrong place," said Dana Sanders, whose son was murdered.

Wilson's case is one of 70 cold cases in the Capital City, cases that are now in the hands of one detective, Lee McCallister, who has been rifling through boxes and pouring over files since September, but hasn't solved any cases yet.

"It still is a work in progress. We still haven't figured out our best approach. Having just one person is not ideal, but it's what we have, so that's what we're working with," said Lee McCallister, LPD detective

Mayor Bernero proposed adding the position cold case detective last March, in his 2013 budget. The City Council rejected the 100 thousand dollar line item, but the Mayor vetoed their amendment, and the money was allocated in July. Council Member Carol Wood says it will be some time before the council and police department can determine if the position is effective.

"It's important to look at when the detective started, how much time he was able to devote to cold cases, looking at past experience," said Carol Wood, City Council Member.

and right now... he's not able to devote all of his time to cold cases because the l-p-d is a few detectives short. Detective McCallister tells me he has time to work on four cases every day.

"It's hard. I mean not every case is solvable... it's not. And we try to find the ones with the most opportunity for us," said McCallister.

But anti-crime activist Rina Risper says families of all victims families, not just those being currently examined, need to hear from detectives.

"There needs to be a better form of communication between the parents and the police department. There needs to be a quarterly meeting to just update us on what's going on," said Rina Risper, who started the Stop the Violence Initiative.

The community does now have a place they can update themselves. Thanks to the cold case unit, the details of two decades of unsolved homicides are now online-a victory for victim's parents like Sanders, who hopes seeing her son's name may jog someone's memory. She hopes least one case will be solved this year...even if it's not her son's.

"It'll give me hope," said Sanders.

That hope may be coming soon. Detective McCallister told us they have one case at Prosecutor's Office right now and they're hoping to charge someone.


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