- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - The Jackson Police Department is restarting its cold case unit after it was disbanded four years ago.

Tronda Spears told The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/1FMT65M) she still hopes the person who killed her 19-year-old son Darrell “D.T.” Brown Jr. in 2004 can be found. He died after he was beaten in his grandparents’ driveway.

Two people were charged in the death but the case fell apart after a 17-year-old witness refused to testify and later disappeared.

Investigator Aubrey Richardson will lead the cold case unit. He said he expects to work mostly on homicide cases, though he will also work on sexual assault cases where there is DNA evidence.

The department previously created a cold case unit in 2009 under a justice assistance grant. Retired officers worked the unit only part time but they solved two homicide cases before the grant ran out and the unit was disbanded in 2011.

In the absence of a separate unit, cold cases are handled by the department’s Major Crimes division. Capt. Mike Holt said investigators there often have to leave off working on old cases in order to look into new crimes.

Spears said she has never stopped trying to find answers to why someone killed her son.

She said her son walked the neighbor’s dog, as well as his own, worked at a restaurant and the Jackson-Madison General Hospital, and did anything his grandparents needed around the house.

“We’d go to the store together. He’d do little stuff to make me laugh,” grandmother Carlene Spears said. “He always said ‘One day, Grandma, I’m gonna take care of you. You and Granddaddy.’ He always tried to help us.”

Holt said the new cold case unit is a recognition that these unsolved cases are a priority.

“They’re important,” he said. “They’re important to the families, and we need to put the resources back in to address them.”

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Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com

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