With just a few days left in 2012, the Colorado Springs Police Department is looking back on a successful year of investigative work.
Because of the hard work of detectives and helpful witnesses, they solved all but one homicide case this year.
"We've run very hard on everyone of the homicides, we were able to dedicate a lot of time to them and just find the right pieces of information and put everything together,” said Lt. Adrian Vasquez.
Lt. Adrian Vasquez who oversees the department says he is proud of the committed investigators and support staff.
“They dedicate so much time and effort into these investigations; they sacrifice often times, family time. And their desire to learn just constantly really helps without our solve rates,” said Lt. Vasquez.
The Colorado Springs Police Department Homicide Unit has closed 21 out of 22 homicide cases in 2012, sitting at a 96 percent solve rate.
Their average solve rate over the last few years, is about 93 percent.
While it’s just a little higher this year, it’s much higher than the national average rate of 63 percent.
You may remember some of the high profile homicides, like one that happened at the beginning of the year, when police arrested Alonzo Paige A.K.A. BABYWIZ. He allegedly shot and killed two people after opening fire in front of Timberlane Apartments.
One from July made national headlines. Local National guardsman Christina Cornejo was found stabbed to death in an apartment off Cheyenne Villas Point. Police were on the hunt for fellow guardsman, Brian Hedglin. He died from suicide a few days later after a failed attempt to steal a SkyWest plane in Utah.
And in August Fort Carson soldier Zachary Doggett was arrested for the death of his 10-month-old step-son who died from severe head trauma.
When a homicide happens, four detectives, a Lieutenant, and a Sergeant, goes to the crime scene as well as a dedicated crime scene crew. They say the first 24 hours are crucial in solving any case.
"Teamwork for this is the number one reason our solve rates are probably so high,” said Lt. Vasquez.
The Lieutenant also credits investigators who are constantly educating themselves, staying up to date with technology, and have a desire to bring closure to affected families.
"We can't offer the family a whole lot, the only thing we can really offer is a promise that we we're gonna seek out as much s we can, we're gonna put every effort into giving them some justice,” said Lt. Vasquez.
The only homicide they have not been able to solve this year was the death of 56-year-old John Knudsen. He was stabbed to death and found in the 700 block of S. 8th Street near Wal-Mart on the Santa Fe Trail. His body was discovered by a Wal-Mart shopper on August 15.
If you know anything about this case, you are asked to call police. Remember you can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.
Two of the homicides this year were officer involved shootings that were ruled justified.
There are about ten fewer homicides this year than last year. 2011 was record setting with 32 homicides.