(WSVN) - The world of technology has a new tool the creators hope could help local police solve cold cases. The Nightteam’s Karen Hensel reports this new view may be one key in solving old murders.
CrimeDoor is a new app that literally takes users through a door into the virtual reality of a real crime scene.
It features high-profile cases like the 1996 unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey.
Viewers take a virtual walk through the basement where her body was found, seeing what detectives saw when they first entered.
The app also gives people a look at the 1997 unsolved shooting of rapper Biggie Smalls, murdered while sitting at a stop light in Los Angeles.
The augmented reality flies you through all angles, showing the cars, the people and what police know of the potential killer.
And although not unsolved, users can also get a three dimensional look at the Miami Beach mansion steps where famed fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down in 1997.
Neil Mandt, CrimeDoor founder: “You can for the first time actually understand things.”
CrimeDoor founder Neil Mandt says the app allows people to take another look at old cases with a fresh set of eyes.
Neil Mandt: “So, not only can that detective who may have been retired revisit that scene, but everybody on the force, everybody in the academy and everybody in the world can now visit it, and there’s a high probability somebody is going to see something.”
See something and say something by calling police. That’s the hope.
The app also features local cases that may be lesser known but are no less important.
Voice of witness Cecilia Best, 2012 interview: “He still kept shooting and shooting and shooting again.”
Back in 1989, on Thanksgiving Day, Angelita Guantlett and her boyfriend Courtney Lindsay were shot to death while sitting in their car in Miramar.
Terri Gauntlett, daughter (in 2012 interview): “I heard gunshots.”
The cold case was first featured in an “Out for Justice” segment on 7News in 2012.
Patrick Fraser (in 2012 story): “Angelita’s daughter was sitting inside their house when the gunfire started.”
When users click on the victims’ names on the app, that same story now plays nine years later worldwide to a new audience.
The local cases don’t have augmented reality yet, but they are filled with videos, pictures and articles.
In the Miramar case, a larger audience could be vital, as police are still on the hunt for the prime suspect, a Jamaican man known as “Bull.”
Miramar Police detective Danny Smith: “We’ve got our 1980s case that is being put on this app, and we know who it is. We know who the person is. He’s been identified.”
Danny Smith has been a Miramar Police detective for more than 20 years.
Danny Smith: “Our local cases, getting them out there is gold.”
Victims’ families struggle to keep their loved ones in the spotlight.
It can be a dark place while hoping for a break.
Nellie Pierre, Bryan Pata’s sister (in 2011): “Anybody who knows anything, come forward.”
Bryan Pata, a Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman, was shot once in the head execution-style in front of his apartment in 2006.
His family has spent the last 14 years fighting to keep his story alive and so have police.
Detective Michael Dominguez, Miami-Dade Police (in 2011): “There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about this case.”
Bryan’s murder is also profiled on the app.
Perhaps, this time, a new look may trigger new memories or spark new conversations that could crack the case.
Edrick Pata, Bryan Pata’s brother (in 2011): “It could be anybody that’s within that circle of trust, and they betrayed him.”
And families from across the country are hoping the app can help bring justice for their lost loved ones. The family of two girls killed in Indiana partnered with CrimeDoor to find this man, the main suspect in their murder, and the founder of CrimeDoor says he will build a profile providing a new view for families in South Florida, as well.
The app is free to download and includes articles and videos about the crimes.
Accessing the augmented reality portion costs $2 per case.
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