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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cards could help uncover cold case clues

Art_cards TROY, New York (CNN) -- While inmates in jails across New York pass the time by playing card games -- poker, gin rummy and solitaire -- they may also be helping crack cold cases.

The idea is simple: Each of the 52 playing cards contains information about a murder, a missing person or another unsolved crime.

Inmates know information law enforcement agents don't, and as corrections officers can attest, inmates love to talk as long as it's not about their own crimes.

The program was started by Doug and Mary Lyall, whose daughter Suzanne went missing 10 years ago after she got off a bus at the State University of New York-Albany.

The Lyalls heard about a similar initiative in Florida where the cards, sent to state prisons and some county jails, resulted in eight arrests and one conviction.

Florida officials say they are close to releasing a third edition deck of cards.

Using money donated to their foundation, the Center for Hope, the Lyalls sent 7,200 decks of cards to New York's local jails.

"It just started to snowball, and we got momentum, and it took a lot of hard work, lot of phone calls, lot of foot work, but it's been worth it so far because we got it off the ground," Doug Lyall recalled. [Mark Godsey]

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