Monday, 22 January 2007

Cold Cases

When Max Haines retired last year, his departure left a huge void for Sunday Sun readers who could never get enough of his chilling Crime Flashback tales.

The mild-mannered master of mayhem, who got his start at a Nova Scotia newspaper called The Casket, had a passion for researching and writing about murders most foul.

How to fill that void? This blogger has suggested the crime writing void could be filled quite effectively with Toronto's first weekly Cold Case column.

Approach police forces across the province, from small villages to major cities, and ask them to cooperate with the Sun by revisiting baffling cold cases.

Tackle cold cases - unsolved murders, missing persons, fatal hit-and-runs, bank robberies, frauds etc. - with the same thoroughness of a Max Haines Crime Flashback.

Sun Media could offer cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction and it could profile the weekly cold cases on SUN-TV and the Internet for wider exposure.

Mark Bonokoski's superb column in the Sunday Sun on Jan. 21 could be used as Exhibit A in the argument for a weekly Cold Case column.

Mark's research into the 1933 Toronto hit-and-run death of 10-year-old Wolf Cub Buster Silvester proves no unsolved case is too old to forget.

The veteran, award-winning columnist, working from well-aged Telegram clippings, located the victim's 81-year-old younger brother in Nova Scotia and personalized the tragic cold case with an interview.

Multiply Mark's column by 52 per year and a Sunday Sun weekly review of cold cases could help ease the decline in circulation.

The Sun of old thrived on innovation and had more hits than misses in hand-picking columns in its first 30 years.

Sun Media has the combined Telegram/Sun library clippings to kick-start the research of cold cases recommended by police forces.

Cold Case columns researched and written with the same sensitivity as Sunday's Mark Bonokoski column would be positive on numerous fronts.

Relatives of victims would have renewed hope of closure; readers could help solve baffling cases; culprits might surrender out of new bouts of guilt; the missing might be found.

The recent identification of bones found in a field north of Toronto 40 years ago captivated readers and tips resulted in a family being able to bury a young murder victim.

Police, the media and the public made it happen. That is team work in the most positive sense, as experienced by John Walsh and his America's Most Wanted viewers for 20 years.

It could happen more often if the Sun, or any Toronto newspaper, devoted more time and space to Ontario's cold cases.

1 comment:

  1. Spend money on editorial? Effectively cross-promote with Sun TV? Nice ideas, but it doesn't seem to be part of Quebecor's M.O.