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Podcast bringing attention to cold cases in Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho cold cases will soon be getting more attention, thanks to a new podcast.

The Deck podcast features cold cases from across the country, including Idaho.

For years, law enforcement agencies have been replacing traditional playing cards with cards featuring cold cases in that state, which are then given out to inmates in jail and prison, in hopes that someone with information will come forward.

The deck given to Idaho inmates was created by Idaho Cold Cases, with the Idaho Department of Corrections.

Crystal Douglas, the founder of Idaho Cold Cases, said she first found out about the podcast after being contacted by a brother of Linda Smith, the nine of hearts in the Idaho deck.

"I was contacted several months ago by one of the victim's brothers, Ben Smith, who mentioned that he had an interview coming up with a lady named Emily for a podcast, and he actually didn't know who she was with and asked if I could come, and it was really short notice," Douglas says she told Smith she wasn't able to attend and told him to get ahold of her after the interview.

"And it was after that he had given Emily my phone number and we connected and I realized, 'OK, she's with Audiochuck', and she was formerly an investigative reporter in Wyoming," Douglas said. "So she lives nearby and she got a hold of me and we talked about different cases. What she what they're doing is something called 'The Deck', and they're looking at people who are victims in cold cases across the country and attempting to do a podcast on them as long as they were featured on the deck. So she's actually come out to Bonneville County Sheriff's Office met me there, and we've already recorded with detectives."

Linda Smith was 14 when she was taken by a white adult male from her home in Pocatello in 1981, and found dead a year later, will be the first episode to air, when the podcast launches on February 2.

Smith will be among several Idaho cases featured, says Douglas.

"Donna Lemon case coming up on a podcast, she was a Bozeman nurse who was found murdered in Idaho Falls in 1973," Douglas said. "And we've got Tonya Teske, a Wyoming girl who was found murdered in the Ucon area in the mid-nineties. Randall Leach was a boy in the early eighties, a young man actually who was hitchhiking his way across the U.S. from family in Wisconsin to see family in Oregon. He disappeared after he left Idaho, so he stayed and worked for a few days at a dairy here in Idaho Falls, and then disappeared."

Other Idaho cases will be featured but have not yet been announced.

Douglas said the podcast will bring more attention to the solvable cases.

"I think it definitely brings more awareness, and people are definitely interested in listening to podcasts when they involve someone local to them. So I'm really glad that she's [Emily] coming out here and we have this collaboration going," Douglas said. "I hope that people will listen and people will, again, share with others who were maybe around in that time frame, maybe knew the victim, maybe knew some of the people surrounding the victim get talking again, and maybe you never know. Some little nugget of information may come forward."

Because the victims deserve justice.

"Every one of these families deserve answers, and police do need help on these cases. They are never, never over until we have justice," Douglas said.

Anyone with information on any of the cases mentioned or any cold case in Idaho is asked to call 1-844-TIP-4040. That number goes directly to the Idaho cold case line, and callers do not have to leave their names.

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Rachel Fabbi

Rachel Fabbi is a reporter, anchor and producer for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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