PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — For several months, Eyewitness News has been highlighting unsolved murders and missing person cases across Rhode Island through our Cold Case Cards series.
Pawtucket Police Detective Sue Cormier came up with the idea for a deck of cards highlighting 52 cold cases.
Now, she’s in a nationwide grant competition, hoping to win money to buy a machine that could revolutionize the way officers across Rhode Island collect DNA evidence.
“I think it could have an enormous impact,” said Cormier. “For example, if I grab your shirt, or a suspect grabs someone’s shirt, you wouldn’t know exactly where to swab that with a cotton swab, where the M-Vac System can actually vacuum the entire area. So it’s 180 times more efficient than cotton swabbing.”
The invaluable machine comes at a hefty price: $44,000.
“Unfortunately, it’s not in anyone’s budget really because it’s an expensive item,” said Cormier. “But it’s portable, it could be used out in the field, and it would be maintained at the Department of Health so it would benefit all of the police departments across the state.”
To help get the ball rolling, Cormier applied for a grant through Aftermath’s campaign, “Why We Serve”. There were over 100 submissions from law enforcement across the country, and her proposal made it to the top 15. But now, she needs the public’s help.
“It’s the community that votes on these, and votes have to be cast every day,” said Cormier.
Cormier hopes to take the top prize of $5,000 to help kickstart her fundraising efforts. She says the machine could help bring closure for so many Rhode Island families.
“It just really means a lot to me to continue this mission forward, of solving these cases if we can, and giving these families answers on both ends both cold case and current day.”
Voting ends in just a few days. To help Detective Cormier win the grant, you can click here to vote.