July 25th, 2007
Here is something weird, strange and quite interesting. Poker cards to help solve cold-cases!
On July 24, 2007, Florida’s 93,000 state inmates started getting one of two decks that between them highlight 104 of the state’s most troubling unsolved murder and missing persons cases. It is an effort to get inmates talking and gossiping about these cases, hoping it will lead to getting some of them solved.
These are of course inspired by the now famous most-wanted deck of Saddam Husien and other fugitives issued to U.S. troops shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
For the state program, authorities printed 85,000 decks featuring the first 52 cases, and started handing them out Tuesday to inmates at Wakulla Correctional Institution in the Panhandle town of Crawfordville. In a few weeks, 15,000 decks with 52 different cases will be distributed.
The King of Spades in one deck is Tiffany Sessions, a 20-year-old UoF sophomore who disappeared on Feb. 9, 1989. The Queen of Diamonds in that deck is 12-year-old Jennifer Odom, a girl whose body was found on Feb. 25, 1993, six days after she disappeared.
Sessions’ card features her smiling face. Odom’s card has a picture of a sweat shirt and her book bag because authorities didn’t want to give the state’s sex offenders pictures of children.
The state attorney general’s Crime Stoppers Fund is paying the $75,000 cost of the program — about $68,000 to produce the cards and $7,000 for rewards, an agency spokeswoman said. The Polk County deck was produced with help from the local Crime Stoppers program.