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FCSO Launches Cold Case Unit to Reexamine Unsolved Crimes

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The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) launched a dedicated Cold Case Unit in late summer for the first time in agency history. With the advances in science and technology, Sheriff Rick Staly’s vision was to create a full-time unit in an effort to provide dedicated and focused attention to these old and unsolved cases.

Under prior Sheriffs, the FCSO tried several solutions to help solve these cold cases including a team of volunteers and detectives working on cases as time allowed. These solutions were not successful despite the hard work of the volunteers and detectives.

With advancements in phenotyping, blood spatter analysis, genetic genealogy, touch and familial DNA, old cases can now be evaluated for new forensic testing and analysis. The FCSO Cold Case Unit will utilize these state-of-the-art criminal intelligence gathering and laboratory analysis as well as forensic disciplines to reexamine these cases. Cold cases include unsolved homicides, missing person cases where foul play is suspected, sex crimes and any other unsolved violent crimes where the statute of limitations has not expired making prosecution impossible.

Detective Andrew Cangialosi was selected as the first full-time Cold Case Detective and will work closely with the FCSO Crime Scene Unit, the State Attorney’s Office Homicide Investigations Unit (HIU), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida Sheriff’s Association Cold Case Advisory Committee, and the Medical Examiner’s Office (ME).

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Detective Cangialosi is tasked with locating, and modernizing all unsolved Homicide, Persons Missing under Suspicious Circumstances, and unsolved Sex Offenses. Fifteen homicide files were found dating back as far as 1981. Many of these files only existed in paper format and contained investigative notes, audio and video files in antiquated formats. These files will be digitized, reviewed, and brought up to current investigative standards. Each case can then be evaluated to determine if new techniques and technologies can be applied to them.

Detective Cangialosi was recently assigned a case that had gone unsolved and he has made great headway in identifying and preparing possible charges to bring this case closure. This case is a prime example of a death investigation which may have gone stale without the new Cold Case initiative. Detective Cangialosi has also reopened several Cold Cases and identified evidence that is currently being reevaluated and sent for additional testing. The following cases are part of this new initiative:

  • A 2013 murder of Dennie Cayton who was stabbed to death and discovered in the marsh area behind 16 Covington Lane in Palm Coast. This case has evidence that has already been sent out for additional DNA processing as well as having cellular data that is being reexamined by the FCSO Digital Forensics Unit.
  • Two homicides from the late 1990’s where the bodies of two female victims were found on the side of the road in two separate locations within Flagler County. The victims, Andrea Ford (AKA Andrea Daniluk) and Dawn Petterson, were both shot to death with firearms sharing similar ballistic characteristics. Both women died under similar circumstances and biological evidence is being evaluated for additional DNA analysis.

“Cases like these and the small list of other unsolved cases of homicides, missing persons and sex crimes is what led to the creation of the Cold Case Unit,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “When you take into account how much science, technology and DNA testing has changed in recent years, it was time to dedicate the resources needed to re-open and review these cases and bring closure to the victims and their families. It is my hope that through this new unit – no matter how long it takes – that violent offenders will be taken off the streets and be held accountable for their actions.”
Detective Cangialosi is a veteran law enforcement officer and has served with FCSO for nearly 6 years. He worked for more than two years as a detective assigned to the Major Case Unit.

Anyone with information on an unsolved case in Flagler County is asked to contact FCSO at 386-313-4911 or send information to TIPS@flaglersheriff.com. You can also call CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS where you can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.00.

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