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SNEAK PEEK: How can you help crack Southwest Florida's coldest of cold cases?

11 unidentified remains found in Southwest Florida need their names back -- and maybe you or someone you know can help.
Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 14, 2024

SARASOTA, Fla. — Behind every face and every action, there's a name. The search for those names is where the journey begins.

Fox 4's Senior Reporter Kaitlin Knapp is on a mission to get to know the names we know, and perhaps find the ones we don't, along with the detectives working in the same communities you call home.

In Fox 4's new series called "Sunshine Crimes," we are working in communities throughout Southwest Florida to tell the stories of people waiting for justice.

Some of these cases are not necessarily crimes. Some are people that have been found, but have no name. The common theme here: the remains we're going to talk about were all found in southwest Florida.

"These are the victims, these are the nameless," said Joe Mullins. "The forgotten, the coldest of the cold cases."

Mullins has been a forensic imaging specialist at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for the past 25 years. He's on a mission to give the unidentified their identity back.

He reached out after seeing Fox 4's story of the York Island Jane Doe and invited us to a workshop at Ringling College in Sarasota. Over five days, students put together a face based on information about the skull given from the Medical Examiner's Office in Fort Myers.

"I don't want any skulls sitting on shelves," he said.

Mullins is talking about the shelves of Medical Examiner's offices around the country.

The 3D image you're going to see for the first time are all southwest Florida cold cases.

Tune in April 15 and 16 for Fox 4 News at 10:00 p.m. to see the faces students sculpted, how Mullins got access to something very few can pull off, and what you can do to give some of your neighbors some closure.