Record Number Of Homicides Leads To Angst, Frustration (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose - 21Alive

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 7:16 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- 2013's record number of homicides means a huge caseload for investigators at the coroner and prosecutor's offices.

And delays in arrests or even determining causes of death is causing angst and frustration.

The good news is that arrests are pending in some of last year's record-breaking homicides.

However, this violence has a ripple effect people might not think about: investigators stymied and frustrated when pieces of a case don't come together quickly.

Of last year's record 45 homicides, six suspects have been convicted or pleaded guilty.

There was one arrest last week, and the prosecutor's office has two cases under review.

However, prosecutor Karen Richards acknowledges that some homicides will be difficult to solve because they're gang related, which can instill fear in potential witnesses.

And cases like 51-year old Steven Turner, which took five months to determine he died of blunt force trauma, are frustrating for investigators at the coroner's office.

“For folks who live outside the law, you solve your problems, not by filing a lawsuit, but by shooting somebody with a gun. And as long as we have a group of people like that, unfortunately, some of these are going to be tough to solve,” Richards says.

“Really frustrating. We're dealing, not only with the community in general, but also with family members who are waiting for an answer. And not being able to give them an answer in a decent time or to be able to tell them to be really able to put it to rest, it's tough,” says coroner’s investigator Patt Kite.

Witnesses coming forward to tell what they saw or know will help solve cases.

And prosecutor Richards says having a liaison officer from the police department now working with her team full-time is going to help cases tremendously.

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