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unsolved homicide card deck kelly nolan julie speerschneider

The state Department of Justice is using a new tactic in the effort to solve cases that have gone cold: distributing playing cards to inmates.

Each card will feature a photo of a missing person or homicide victim and information about their case. The cards will be distributed to state prisons and to county jails in the hope that an inmate with knowledge of a case will come forward.

The department has produced two versions of the cards: one of Milwaukee cases and one with cases from other parts of the state.

Some of the victims are from decades-old cases that I wrote about in a story last year, which revealed that some or all of the evidence had been lost or destroyed.

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Here's a story on the project from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or you can read the DOJ's press release here.

More recent local cases highlighted on the cards include: Brittany Zimmermann, a UW student who was found murdered in her downtown apartment in 2008 (although her name is misspelled on the card); Kelly Nolan, whose body was found in a wooded area in the town of Dunn in 2007; and Gregory Bray, who was murdered in his west-side home in 2003.

Interestingly, the Rev. Alfred Kunz, who was found with his throat cut at St. Michael Parish school in Dane in 1998 -- one of the highest-profile murders in Dane County in decades -- was not included. Maybe that's because investigators have said they know who did it. They just haven't been able to piece together enough evidence to nail the perpetrator.

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