Hartford police detail new efforts to solve cold case murders

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HARTFORD – Homicide detectives in Hartford are working with victims’ families and community groups to bring new ideas and new determination to solving cold cases.

On Wednesday, Hartford Police Chief James Rovella gave an update on these new efforts along with representatives from Mothers United Against Violence.

The Mothers United Against Violence Focus Group, made up of detectives and victims’ families, has now met four times. They all wear pins that say “Forever in our thoughts” encouraging these families to stay in contact with law enforcement and vice versa.

Chief Rovella says it’s important for both sides to maintain hope, “Hope that the case will be solved, hopefully that there’ll be some resolution to a very tragic situation.”

One of the ideas to come from the group is a 2017 calendar featuring 24 Hartford cold cases, photos of the victims, and details about their murders. It will be distributed throughout the city and to correctional facilities.

Maria Rodriguez, whose son Ricardo Rivera was murdered in October 2015, said she hopes someone will see her son’s photo in the calendar and speak up.

“[I hope] that somebody says, ‘I know that kid and I’ve been hearing a lot of people speaking about it’ and somebody say something because I know somebody knows,” said Rodriguez.

These families say not having closure makes their feelings of loss even more difficult.

“It just means so much for us for us to know who did this to him,” said Jasmine Moton, whose brother William Ward was murdered in March 2016.

She said, “He has a young daughter who does not know that he's not here any longer and I know as she gets older I think that it will just be better to have a story of who did it and why versus ‘We don't know.’”

The focus group also plans to use social media to spread information about these cases. It will meet again in March to discuss new ideas.

Hartford Police encourage anyone with information about these murders to call the cold case tip line at 860-722-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.