- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A Jacksonville man is helping families of homicide victims by creating a cold case website.

Ryan Backmann’s father was shot killed at Jacksonville construction site in 2009 and authorities have not found his killer, The Florida Times-Union (http://bit.ly/1J0S9vA ) reported on Sunday.

Backmann created a nonprofit called Project Cold Case and launched a database to collect tips on unsolved murder cases to help other families who have lost loved ones in cases that have never been solved. Backmann told the newspaper his goal is to keep the cases in the public eye. He has drawn national attention to cold cases from Florida and six other states since starting the website in March.

“As the son of an unsolved homicide victim, I can see how a case gets forgotten and without somebody to fight for that victim to constantly keep them in the public eye, they just slowly disappear,” said Backmann, 37. “My struggle was how to make sure these unsolved victims are not forgotten, that the families know they’re not forgotten and, most importantly, that the killers now they’re not forgotten. I know that means more to them (survivors) than anything else I can do.”

The website combines details from police and families to build profiles of the victims and the crimes. The website includes an application for families wishing to have their cases included. All details are verified through the investigating police agency and contact numbers for investigating detectives are given.

Cliff Backmann, 56, was fatally shot in the back on Oct. 10, 2009, while working alone at a construction site.

Cliff Backmann called 911 and cried for help before he died. There were no witnesses, and police recovered little evidence.

Backmann said his sadness and frustration grew after police suspended the case, though he remains hopeful his father’s killer will be found. As he met other survivors, Backmann said his compassion and desire to help them inspired him to fight for victims’ rights.

Though Project Cold Case has yet to record any successes, Backmann said all it takes is one person reading one detail and calling in one tip.

“There are too many cases out there that could easily be solved by somebody coming forward,” Backmann said. “We want to give these families answers.”


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com



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