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CrimeStoppers launches website to help solve cold cases

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A brand new crime-fighting tool has been unveiled to help crack some of the hardest cases to solve.

Cold cases may be difficult to close, but investigators say in every case, someone knows something, even when many years have passed since the incident occurred.

For one Memphis woman, 2021 marks 10 years since her son was killed and she says it still feels like yesterday.

“It’s like a sword in my stomach right here that won’t get well, like it won’t heal,” said Mattie Williams who says she has replayed September 24, 2011 over and over in her head.

“They shot him in the forehead and shot him in the temple,” said Williams.

That was the day her oldest son, 42-year-old father of three, Dennis Gilliam was murdered in his own home in the 5500 block of Forsythe.

Williams says she has never given up trying to find her son’s killer.

The life of a mother of a cold case victim can be exhausting. She still regularly calls detectives and even added $10,000 of reward money to encourage tips.

“I worked hours and hours just to save that money up,” said Williams.

Williams is like so many families.

According to the FBI, there are a quarter-million cold case homicides in this country with over 6,000 in Tennessee alone.

With 2021 being on pace to be another record-breaking year for homicides in Shelby County, that number is likely to grow.

“I go back to the fact that the proliferation of guns, everyone has a gun or think they ought to have one, and the proliferation of total random violence,” said Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers Memphis and Shelby County.

Chapman says random events, such as drive-by shootings make it difficult to solve crimes.

Late last month, the Memphis Police Department reported 99 interstate shootings. Arrests have been made in only 16 of those cases.

The fear is many of those cases will fall into the hands of the Memphis Police Department Cold Case Bureau.

“It is everybody’s responsibility if they know something, to step forward and we give them the vehicle to do that,” said Chapman.

CrimeStoppers just recently launched www.memphiscoldcases.org, featuring various cases with hopes someone will call in with a tip to help solve the crime.

Williams’ son’s case is on the website.

Williams says Gilliam’s memory still lives on in her home with hopes one day she’ll finally get justice for her son.

The smallest tip can help solve a crime.

If you have any information regarding Gilliam or any other cold case, you can call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

You can also call Freedom from Unnecessary Negatives’ crime tip line at 901-417-7361

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