Back in October 2008, we reported that Minnesota’s prisons were receiving decks of playing cards featuring 52 violent unsolved homicide, missing person and unidentified remains cases that occurred throughout the state of Minnesota in the past 50 years. The decks of cards were distributed to all 515 police departments and sheriffs’ offices in Minnesota, 75 jail facilities with 10,000 decks to Minnesota state prison inmates.
Recently, a tipster helped in solving a cold case missing person in Wabasha County. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner positively identified the remains of Deana Patnode of Inver Grove Heights. She disappeared in 1982 but her remains were found seven years later. Unfortunately, the police could not identify her until recently when a tipster saw a reconstructed picture of her on the deck of the playing cards. The tipster remembered seeing her in the neighborhood where he used to live. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found relatives of the missing person and matched her DNA with her relatives.
Thanks to the Minnesota Cold Case Playing Cards, this may be the first tip generated and hopefully not the last, to help solve a cold case.