Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Playing cards could help solve these Hampshire County unsolved cases 

Massachusetts State Police using playing cards with unsolved cases in hopes of obtaining tips
McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts State Police are circulating playing cards featuring unsolved cases throughout prisons across the state to gather tips from prisoners. Three cases will be from Hampshire County.

Out of the approximate 52 cards in a deck, three homicides and one missing persons case from Hampshire County will be included. The cards include several pieces of information: the report type, a victim photo, the date and time of the incident, if the body was found and its location, where the victim was last seen and contact information if an individual wants to report something related to the case.

In June 2010, Michael “Mickey” Brougham went missing in Belchertown.

Image from Northwestern District Attorney

“He’s been missing for 11 years, and we feel like people might have information as to what happened,” said Captain Jeffrey Cahill, head of the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.


Homicide victims include Jean Bones-Colon, who was fatally shot outside Anthony’s Night Club in South Hadley on Sept. 28, 2012. William “Bill” Dziedzinski is also feature on a card, as he was found dead with multiple wounds in Ware on Feb. 2, 2018.

Image from Northwestern District Attorney

Running this project is State Police Lt. Ann Marie Robertson of the State Police Unresolved Case Unit in partnership with the Department of Corrections, District Attorney’s Offices and law enforcement agencies statewide. According to a press release from the office of Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, these decks include cases from every District Attorney’s office in the state to make up the 52 cards in a playing deck.

Cahill and Northwestern First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne both worked together to choose what cases to include in this project. Since the four Hampshire County cases are not extremely dated, they believe people may still have information that could be helpful to the investigation.

“Even if it is a longshot, this project provides a glimmer of hope that someone may come forward with information that could prove helpful to the case,” Gagne said.

In a YouTube video that was linked in the press release, Colonel Christopher Mason of the Massachusetts State Police explained that since time has passed, the hope is that people who view these cards might “re-examine [their] conscience” and help solve these earlier investigations.

“Over time, we know fears subside and priorities change…To further that effort our unresolved cases unit created this deck of playing cards with each card highlighting an unsolved case,” Mason said.

According to Cahill, this project has shown to be successful in other states and has led to arrests for the crimes.

Connecticut, for instance, used cold case cards to figure out an investigation surrounding a 2003 homicide of Benjamin “Benji” Baez, who according to Connecticut’s government website, “…was shot to death while sitting in a parked car in the North End of Hartford.”

Rafael Ortiz was convicted of murder for this homicide and was later arrested in October 2017 in New York by Hartford Police detectives. The website states that this case “was featured in the fourth edition of the cold case playing cards produced in conjunction with the Department of Correction and sold to inmates in the Connecticut corrections system. Information on Baez’s death was described on the six of diamonds card.”

“There is someone who lives with a hole in their heart or their home that was once filled by one of these victims. For each of these victims, regardless of their life story,” Mason said. “Help us speak for these souls who can no longer speak for themselves.”

Information can be submitted by phone at 1-855-MA-SOLVE (1-855-627-6583), by email to [email protected] or by mail to: Unresolved Cases Unit at 470 Worcester Road, Framingham MA 01702.

Liesel Nygard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @LieselNygard.

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