When it comes to solving crime, every case is a race against the clock.
It starts the minute the call comes in, but as time passes, leads turn cold which makes it harder to find the people responsible. It takes a special team to dust off the case files and search for the truth, years after the crime.
Sgt. Morgan Bragg with the Beckley Police Department said, “To take on a case that’s old or stagnant or that’s been classified as cold is a major undertaking.”
Bragg is one of the leaders of the Cold Case Task Force.
“I think from the age of two or three years old I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement,” Bragg said.
For Bragg, digging up the truth is a family tradition. His father, George Bragg, was a well-known author who studied West Virginia’s unsolved murders.
“I think his desire and his care for the families of these victims kind of led me to want to achieve that as well,” Bragg explained.
Working with Crime Stoppers of West Virginia, Bragg decided to continue his father’s legacy by creating the Cold Case Task Force in April of 2017. He uses the resources and the investigative skills of several law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal agencies to bring closure to families, while dedicating their careers to solving cold cases.
“In a lot of ways you are giving up some of your family life, you are giving up some of your general time and we all have day jobs as well,” Bragg said.
Bragg and his team often work on several cases at a time, some of them are between 30 and 40 years old, like their first case: the 1981 murder of Cynthia Jane Miller in Beckley. With determination and teamwork, no secret stays buried forever.
“People who may keep a secret for you 37 years ago, may not keep a secret for you today,” Bragg said. “So more information comes out. Also, just sheer conscience.”
Bragg and his team work day in and day out, making sure no victim is forgotten.
“Anybody that’s been a victim or had a family member that was a victim of a crime, especially murder, we want them to understand that it doesn’t go away,” said Bragg. “We are going to continue to work on them until we get those answers.”
Bragg has a message for those criminals still walking free:
“We’re coming. We will eventually catch up to the person that did these crimes and we’ll put them where they need to be.”