Cherokee County investigators need your help closing a case that’s nearly three decades old.
On this day in 1992, the body of 20 year old Jennifer Judd was found in her Baxter Springs home. They believe they’re just one piece of evidence away from closing this case for good. Investigators say Jennifer Judd was planning to take lunch to her husband on the morning of May 11, 1992, but he and a friend returned home that evening instead to find her dead.
Judd had been stabbed a total of nine times. Although this case is now 26 years old, Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves believes it’s still solvable. But this isn’t the only open case his office is working. And he says the recent closing of the Laura Bible and Ashley Freeman case in Oklahoma just proves it’s never too late for justice to be served.
“It gets exciting knowing that we might be able to bring closure to the families, even though it’s 20 years old. It doesn’t make the case less important than a case today,” says Detective Beau Hamlin.
In his time as chief detective at the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Beau Hamlin has worked on each of the county’s four big open cases. And he says there’s a process. First, find the case files, go through them and look for leads to follow up on. Then start talking to witnesses.
“And then we would also, and recently have, spoken with former investigators or former prosecutors,” says Hamlin.
Sheriff David Groves says along with the Jennifer Judd Case, Hamlin and the other detectives are also looking into three other unsolved murder cases, including the Fenton-palmer double homicide from 1997. And having a new investigator on the case is sometimes the key to solving it.
“A fresh set of eyes may see something that may have been missed, or just see it in a different contact, and provide a new direction,” says Sheriff David Groves.
But to solve the cases, Groves says they need your help. He says even if someone has spoken to law enforcement in the past, they want to hear from them again, even if that person doesn’t think what they know is important.
“It could be the missing piece that helps us crack those cases open,” says Groves.
Hamlin says he’ll continue to work on the open cases, because of what solving them could mean to the families of the victims.
“I believe all the cases could be solvable,” says Detective Beau Hamlin.
The state of Kansas is offering a $5 thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Jennifer Judd’s death. If you have any information, you’re being asked to contact the Baxter Springs Police Department, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-KS-CRIME.