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Major Case Squad

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, Cape Girardeau County was plagued with a series of unsolved murders, including the murders of Margie Call, Mildred Wallace, Debbie Martin, and the double-murder of Brenda Parsch and her mother, Mary Parsch.

In response to the problem, law enforcement officials joined together in 1983 to form the Cape Girardeau County Major Case Squad. The Squad combines the best criminal investigators from all local law enforcement agencies into one organized unit. Understanding that most homicides must be solved within the first few hours or they may not be solved at all, the Major Case Squad allows local law enforcement agencies to pool investigative resources and manpower in an efficient and effective manner to provide the type of saturation investigation often essential in solving major crimes.

Since its inception, the Major Case Squad has solved a phenomenal 96.4% (27 of 28) of its cases.

The original agencies participating in the Major Case Squad were the Cape Girardeau Police Department, the Jackson Police Department, the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol. In 1986 the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Department was added to the Squad and its jurisdiction was extended into Bollinger County. In 1988 the Department of Public Safety from Southeast Missouri State University was added to the Squad.





The original Board of Directors of the Major Case Squad consisted of Larry H. Ferrell, Prosecuting Attorney of Cape Girardeau County; Ray Johnson, Cape Girardeau Chief of Police; Robert "Red" Clifton, Jackson Chief of Police; Herman "Bob" Gribler, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff; and Lt. Joe Faber, Missouri Highway Patrol. These men are no longer members of the Board of Directors and are no longer in the positions held at the time the Squad was created. Each deserves much credit for forming the Major Case Squad, though. If one of them had chosen to be a stumbling block to its creation, it would never have been formed.

The Major Case Squad is governed by written bylaws. One of the most important requires that a request to activate the Squad must be made by an investigative agency within 8 hours of the discovery of the crime. This requirement reflects the policy that the Squad is intended and formed to help solve crime and get results, not to be a political scapegoat for a department that has chosen to try to solve the crime alone. The purpose of the Major Case Squad is to provide a large number of officers to investigate all leads immediately. If a department decides it wants all the glory for solving the case all by itself, but then fails to do so within 8 hours, the Major Case Squad will not become involved in the investigation. In most serious cases, if the leads are not adequately followed up within the first 8 hours, the crime is unlikely to be solved, anyway.

All law enforcement officials in Cape Girardeau County agree that the formation of the Major Case Squad was the best thing to happen to law enforcement in Southeast Missouri in many decades. Although the personnel has changed over the years, the Major Case Squad continues to reflect the best and the brightest criminal investigators in Southeast Missouri.







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