BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The return of Louisiana’s deck of playing cards designed to solve homicides, missing person cases, and unidentified remains cases is welcome by state law enforcement agencies, if a new sponsor signs on to bankroll production.
Each of the deck’s 52 cards includes a photo of a victim from an unsolved crime and a blurb with specifics from the case. The cards were primarily distributed to inmates around Louisiana for about $1.50 during the early 2000s with the hope being that prison gossip would lead to tips that can solve cases.
For the general public, the decks were provided for free.
In the first six months after being distributed the decks gained notoriety for helping to solve four homicide and missing persons cases, and convincing an inmate to provide new details about a homicide committed in another state.
They were so popular that Crime Stoppers Executive Director Sid Newman says there often were not enough decks to keep up with demand.
“Just by looking at a picture a little light comes on,” said Newman. “It was a great opportunity that gave family members hope. The community loved them.”
The program came to Louisiana after Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc saw the success law enforcement agencies were having using it in other states. It began as a collaboration between Crime Stoppers, the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, and law enforcement agencies statewide.
Both the Department of Corrections and Crime Stoppers said they’d like to see the program return. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation previously sponsored the program, but has since gone on to fund other partnerships with Crime Stoppers. Should a new sponsor step up to produce the decks, Newman says he’d be ready to help the program get back on track “in a heartbeat.”