County jail using unique method to solve cases

WARREN COUNTY Decks of playing cards featuring photos and descriptions of missing persons and unsolved murders will be distributed soon to inmates at the Warren County Jail and other lockups over the state, Sheriff Bud York said this week. Inmates will be able to anonymously call a tip line, and will be rewarded if the tip leads to a successful arrest or prosecution, he said. This Cold Case Playing Card program is a project of the Center for Hope, which is run by Doug and Mary Lyall of Ballston Spa. Their daughter, Suzanne, was a student at SUNY Albany, and has been missing for more than 10 years. During that time, the Lyalls have dedicated themselves to helping other families face the crisis of a missing loved one. This Cold Case program is an innovative way to uncover new leads, York said, noting that the cards will be placed on tables in day rooms at the jail for the inmates use. Whether some information we might get helps solve the Suzanne Lyall case or some other case, the playing card program is a great attempt to get information to law enforcement agencies, he said. The program is modeled on a similar one in Florida that resulted in solving several homicides and provided new leads on many cold case. It has been funded through a grant from former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Doug Lyall said he hopes inmates will respond with tips if they have any knowledge about the depicted cases. Inmates have a lot of time on their hands, and they are in a unique position to know, see and hear things that may not reach the eyes and ears of law enforcement, he said. "Mary and I are hopeful that this initiative will solve crimes, and bring a measure of peace and hope to families praying for the safe return of a loved one. The New York State Sheriffs Association is providing money for the rewards and has distributed the cards to all New York jails.

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