California Detective Has Become a Cold Case Ace

'San Francisco Chronicle' profiles one who has solved eight of them in seven years
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2024 2:20 PM CST
California Detective Has Become a Cold Case Ace
Stock image.   (Getty / Motortion)

Cold cases hold particular fascination in the true crime genre, and detective Matt Hutchison can relate. He's managed to solve eight of them in seven years as an officer rotating into the robbery-homicide beat in California's Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. And while detectives disguising themselves as busboys and garbage collectors to obtain evidence might sound like something out of a novel or movie, sometimes that's what it takes for him to clear a crime. "He has solved more cold cases in three years than any single detective in the last 15," Rob Baker, deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County, tells journalist Scott Ostler, who profiles the detective and details some of the cases in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Many of the crimes Hutchison investigates took place before the 38-year-old was born, including the case of Karen Stitt, a teenager whose 1982 brutal assault and murder was deemed unsolvable. The application of modern genetics testing did not provide a magic answer, but it did give Hutchison the name of a likely third cousin of the alleged killer. They created on a family tree, and in 2022, Hutchinson arrested Stitt's alleged killer, who was 75 at the time. "I get uncomfortable getting attention for these cases," says the detective. "The hard work is done by these families that for 40 years keep hope alive." Check out the story in full here. (Or read more longform recaps.)

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