Cards may thaw old murder case
Sharon Stafford was found dead in her home in Moorhead's Dulski Mobile Home Park on Nov. 2, 1993. Police said at the time there were signs of a struggle and the 26-year-old woman had been strangled with an electrical chord. A retiring police dete...
Sharon Stafford was found dead in her home in Moorhead's Dulski Mobile Home Park on Nov. 2, 1993.
Police said at the time there were signs of a struggle and the 26-year-old woman had been strangled with an electrical chord.
A retiring police detective said in 1999 authorities had a pretty good idea of who committed the crime, but the trail and investigation turned cold.
Now, police are hoping for a thaw.
Stafford's case is one of 52 cold cases statewide featured on playing cards the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety and Corrections are distributing to prisons and jails.
The idea was borrowed from other parts of the country where it helped solve cases, said Ryan Nelson, a Moorhead police detective who took over the Stafford case in 2005.
"When you have a case this old, anything that comes in could be helpful," Nelson said. "It might be that one little piece we need to track someone down."
He said police have "people of interest" they want to talk to about Stafford's death, but he declined to discuss specifics.
Fingerprint and DNA evidence collected in 1993 has been sent to a lab for analysis that wasn't possible 15 years ago, Nelson said.
Stafford, who also was known by the names Vicki and Debbie, grew up in California and moved to Moorhead in the early 1990s.
Police know she attended a party in a nearby mobile home the night before she died and that she may have had sex that night, but don't know whether it was consensual or forced.
When Louis Stuvland retired from the Moorhead Police Department in 1999, he said the Stafford case was one that haunted him.
"We know who did that, but we can't bring anybody to charges on it. At least not yet," said Stuvland, adding that the suspect's whereabouts were not known in 1999.