Playing cards may help solve murder mysteries

Thursday, September 23, 2010
David Moreau

Richard Chadek III was 11 years old when he was abducted, March 23, 1986, from a bank parking lot in Omaha while riding home from a friend's home. His body was later found in a rural area.

Jay Durnil also was 11 on April 29, 1976, when he left home to shoot his BB gun near the Elkhorn River South of Waterloo. His body was found floating in the Missouri River 20 days later.

Thomas Hunter also was 11 and Shirlee Sherman was 57 when they were killed in an Omaha house, March 1, 2008.

Mary "Sandra" Cabral was 53 years old when she was found dead in her home in Omaha on Oct. 31, 1998.

William and Bernice Peak and their 14-year-old daughter, Barbara, were found shot to death in their home in Grand Island on Sept. 10, 1972.

Robert Beudoin was 43 when he was found dead on the floor of his Freightliner semi tractor he had been driving, parked in a truck stop at the Big Springs interchange in November 2001.

The remains of Carl Bittner Jr., 37, were found in a shallow grave in an undeveloped area of Lincoln in 2004. He was last seen in 2002.

Donald Bennett, 72, was found dead in his home on May 10, 1988. His car was stolen and found in Hollywood on June 27, 1988.

Leah Rowlands, 31, was working at a convenience store in Cozad when she was killed March 10, 1997. Her killer was wearing a brown jacket, black sweatpants and no shoes or socks. He was driving a red 1993 Pontiac Grand Am.

What do they have in common?

All are victims of Nebraska murders that have never been solved.

And, all are featured on new decks of "cold case" cards being distributed by the Nebraska State Patrol to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, law enforcement agencies and county jails around the state. They also appear on the patrol's website, http://www.statepatrol.nebraska.gov/ColdCase.aspx

"We encourage everyone to view the cards," said Col. Bryan Tuma, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol.

"It is our hope someone who sees the cards may provide us with information that could aid in solving a case."

Besides viewing a picture of the victim and information about each case, members of the public are encouraged to call (877) 441-5678 or e-mail NEfusioncenter @nebrsaka.gov if they have any information.

The project is a good idea. The crimes and their victims need to be kept before the public.

We were disappointed, however, that while several of the murder cases were repeated, McCook's most recent unsolved murder was not included at all.

David Moreau, 53, was found dead in the early morning hours of July 18, 2004, on the lawn outside his mother's home on Missouri Avenue Circle. At first, he was thought to have died as the result of an accident, but an autopsy showed he died of blunt-force trauma to the head.

It's a shame his murder wasn't included on the cards. Let's hope, however, his photo and this mention helps jog someone's memory to make the solving of his murder possible.

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