Star Cooper was one year old when her mother Dorothy Cooper was killed in Kansas City, KS. That was almost 40 years ago and for most of her life, Star has looked into her mother’s case, hoping to find out who killed her. Dorothy’s case remains unsolved, without any new leads.
Her case is one of almost 400 unsolved homicides in KCK that happened between 1965 and 2015. Star has tried over the years to convince the Kansas City Kansas Police Department to reopen the investigation into her mother’s death, without any success.
“She was a mother and did not deserve what she got,” Star said. “Her case needs to be reopened. I want accountability for whoever did this to my mom.”
But KCKPD does not have a cold case unit to re-examine and investigate those unsolved homicides. instead, the department relies on a tip line, and they – and family members of the deceased — just wait and hope someone comes forward with tips that they can potentially use to review unsolved cases.
“A tip line is not a cold case unit,” said Nikki Richardson, an organizer with Justice for Wyandotte. “We want detectives who are trained to look at unsolved homicides. We deserve more.”
Richardson said Star and other families have waited entirely too long for justice in their loved ones’ unsolved cases.
Justice for Wyandotte created a petition addressed to the new KCKPD police chief, Karl Oakman, and the Wyandotte County GG Board of Commissioners asking for the department to create a cold case unit by 2022. The group rallied June 22 to bring awareness to the number of unsolved cases in Wyandotte County.
“This trauma is continuous and it never will get resolved itself,” Richardson said. “(The families) feel forgotten. They feel forgotten by the department that is supposed to serve them and I just felt like it was time for somebody to speak up.”
After the Justice for Wyandotte rally, Oakman – who has been at the head of KCKPD for less than a month — said he supports creating a cold case unit and is working on a plan for it to happen next year once staffing allows.
Richardson said the group will continue to apply pressure until it happens. “if it gets established, it means law enforcement agencies are listening to the community, which I think will help build trust,” Richardson said.
The petition already has close to 150 signatures. To sign the petition, visit: www.change.org/p/kckpd-police-chief-karl-oakmanwe-demand-a-kckpd-cold-case-unit