Retired U. S. Army agent starts initiative to help solve cold cases in the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis currently has more than 1,700 unsolved homicides, according to the murder accountability project.

One man who spent his life trying to solve cold cases says he wants to help.

He ended up in the Mid-South because of family, and now he's making an impact on other families who've been victims of these crimes.

A video from 2014 shows Samuel Johnson leaving home for the last time. Soon after, he was shot dead in the street. Police still haven't made an arrest.

“It’s been the worst time of my life," Reginald Johnson said.

Johnson is one of many Memphians looking for answers.

"Law enforcement today is about the present and future, but not as much the past," said Dr. Jim Adcock with the Mid-South Cold Case Initiative.

Dr. Adcock, a retired special agent for the U. S. Army,  has written guide books used to teach law enforcement agents around the world how to investigate cold cases.

He's offered to be a pro bono consultant to the Memphis Police Department. But he also realizes they need funding, especially for manpower and resources.

So he started the non-profit Mid-South Cold Case Initiative.

"It offers computers, databases and things that would help a unit work more efficiently," Dr. Adcock said. "I also would augment any hiring of a crime analyst."

For grieving parents like Johnson, it could make a huge difference.

"Nobody knows the pain this causes a family," he said.

That's why Dr. Adcock says he's dedicated his life to this cause.

He says MPD is still weighing his offer since it can be hard for government agencies to bring in outside help. Charlotte and Tulsa's police departments have both done so successfully.

MPD representatives said they have two detectives who focus mostly on cold cases in their homicide unit.