PUEBLO, Colo. - Just this past month, two suspects in connection to decades old murder cases around the country have been arrested in Southern Colorado.
Last February, 72-year old James Neal of Monument was arrested in connection to a 45-year old case out of Newport Beach, California.
Then, on Thursday, authorities apprehended 73 year old Jesse Hogue in Pueblo West. Hogue is believed to be the suspect involved in 1994 homicide case out of Amarillo, Texas.
Neal has been extradited to face murder and kidnapping charges in California, while Hogue is being held at the Pueblo County Jailhouse.
“I do see more cold case files being solved across the nation,” said Dan Corsentino, former Pueblo County Sheriff and a private investigator.
Corsentino says better advancements in DNA testing leads to the tipping point in these cold cases.
“To take a look at saliva, hair samples, skin, dry skin from an individual and be able to identify with a 99% accuracy level which is extremely high is impressive,” said Corsentino.
Old DNA from the crime scene played a crucial role in leading investigators to arresting Neal. However, it is still unclear what key reevaluated evidence led to Hogue's arrest.
Since Corsentino began a career in law enforcement back in 1987, he’s seen other advancements as well that have helped investigators solve decades old crimes. Police training, better computer technology, psychological evaluations, national DNA databases, better communication between departments, and GPS technology just to name a few.
However, the benefits don’t stop at cold cases.
“Not only the victims but the accused," said Corsentino. "There are people that are in jail that may have been wrongfully convicted.”
Corsentino believes even advances in automation are the next step in helping to solve old cases.