‘Gamechanger’: Victim’s families reenergized by proposed RI cold case unit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha is now asking for state dollars to launch a cold case unit.

The unit would need approximately $300,000. It would consist of two prosecutors and two investigators.

“It’s cold for a reason,” said Neronha. “The trail has gone cold. It’s difficult, and you really need to dedicate a set of resources to it. Every victim deserves justice and this dedicated group of assets, group of prosecutors and investigators I believe can help them find answers they are looking for and we are looking.”

Families impacted by cold cases have spoken out in strong support of the initiative, including the family of Diane Drake.

Diane was killed on Easton’s beach in Newport 43 years ago. Her killer is still unknown, and the family continues to seek justice.

“I have always wanted justice for Diane and I will do everything to get that for her,” said Terry Devine, sister of Diane’s. “I know for a fact there are people haunted by these cases and Diane’s case.”

She added, “Sometimes when you get fresh eyes on a case, especially with all of the new technology, it could be a gamechanger. I’m all for it. I think it’s in our best interest to hop on and get this going.”

Neronha told ABC 6 Friday that this team would work with departments across the state and ease the burden of the overwhelming cases they already handle.

Neronha finished, “I think this office has demonstrated when given resources or even when we haven’t been given them, we can find ways to deliver for Rhode Islanders. I think an investment in this office in a number of areas… in this case cold cases could really help Rhode Islanders.”

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