MCDONOUGH, Ga. -- (WGCL) -- A group of volunteer investigators is re-inventing how missing person cases are solved.
The faces of the missing and murdered are featured on wine bottles – and there's a new twist! Wine drinkers are asked to help solve the crimes.
“It is the modern day milk carton, there's no doubt,” said Sheryl McCollum, director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute, who helped create the concept for the wine bottles.
McCollum created the Institute in 2004 as a way for criminal justice students to gain real life experience solving unsolved crimes.
“Civilians solve crimes all the time. The DC Sniper - who caught them? A truck driver, a civilian,” said McCollum. “The Zodiac - who deciphered the first puzzle? A civilian, a teacher. Civilians help solve crimes all the time.”
McCollum and attorney Holly Hughes host “Wine & Crime” nights at venues around Georgia. Participants hear a cold case from the experts -- criminal profilers, ballistic experts -- and see if they can discover new clues that could lead to solving it.
“We'll take a hint, a clue, a suggestion from anywhere we can get it. Because if we can help a family bring home a loved one, or get some justice, it's worth it,” Hughes said.
At a recent “Wine & Crime” night at the Deep South Deli and Pub in McDonough, amateur sleuths asked the experts questions. The cold case under review -- Alison Foy, who went missing in North Carolina 10 years ago. Her body, and that of another woman, were found two years later.
Stacey McKnight, of Jackson, said she learned solving crimes isn’t as easy as they make it look on TV.
“I was most interested by the fact that nothing is irrelevant. There are things I probably would have dismissed as not being important, but everything is significant,” she said.