Channel Seven’s Million Dollar Cold Case could have been just a salacious and headline-grabbing reality show in the wrong hands.
But with the obviously sincere and dedicated involvement of Victoria Police, it’s a gripping program that should stir the hardest heart.
The Homicide Cold Case team strives to find any missing clue that may help them solve baffling murder cases and get a conviction.
But as these cold cases date back more than 20 years, the police hope that a million dollar reward may convince someone to provide a missing link of information that can re-open the case, and give the Cold Case team a chance to solve it.
Teenager Ricky Balcombe was murdered in a Geelong shopping centre in 1995.
Ricky’s parents grieve for their son every day, and it was his mother’s agony and his father’s haunted eyes that I can’t forget.
The police had a suspect, got a gaol-yard confession from an associate, and there was an eyewitness who eventually agreed to testify. But two weeks before it was due to go to court, the young eyewitness got cold feet and the case didn’t proceed. Police feel they know who killed Ricky, but they need that eyewitness to change his mind—or for another person who the murderer may have confessed to—to come forward so the case can be reopened.
With the passage of more than 20 years, police hope that the lure of the money may be enough for someone to contact them with that vital missing evidence.
In the second case, dress shop owner Renita Brunton was murdered at the rear of her shop. According to her best friend, this bubbly woman had a desire to help everyone with their problems, and was happy to sit down with them in a quiet place and listen and counsel. The result was that someone killed her, leaving behind a grieving husband and one-year-old son.
Million Dollar Cold Case claimed that serial rapist and murderer Peter Dupas was a suspect, but he had an alibi, and without more clues, Renita Brunton’s murder remains a cold case.
What is striking is the incredible determination of the police to keep trying to solve these cases, and the amazing support they offer to the grieving families. As Detective Sergeant Paul Rowe says in the program, “There is always someone who knows.”
Will someone come forward and help with a missing piece of evidence? The Bible has some words worth remembering: “Our people must learn to use their lives for doing good and helping anyone who has a need” (Titus chapter 3, verse 14).
In the meantime, pray that there will be answers found for the people left behind that may ease their grief.