Horry County Police aided by retired investigators to solve cold cases

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Police Department plans to review dozens of unsolved cases, and it’s getting help from former officers willing to donate their time.

Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill says bringing in former officers, retired FBI agents, and behavioral scientists – all members from the Coastal Carolina Shields – will hopefully give investigators new leads on cases that have lost momentum.
“I went to college and started when I was 21 years old,” says President Coastal Carolina Shields Michael Grabarz, who worked in law enforcement for 39 years.

“It’s all in everybody’s blood,” says Grabarz of the group of retired officers hoping to help solve Horry County cases. “We’re a brotherhood.”

Grabarz spent his days in Connecticut working as an officer, detective, and later in narcotics, but he’s still not ready to give up the badge.

“It’s something that we grew up knowing we always wanted to do and now that we’re out of it, we still have it in our system,” explains Grabarz.

“Maybe they see something that the other investigators haven’t seen. Maybe there’s that one little something that’s out there that hasn’t been found and we may be able to find it,” says the former investigator.

The Horry County Police Department currently has about 30 cold cases, and about 40 unsolved homicides, some dating back to as early as the 1970s.

“DNA technology has changed,” said Chief Hill. “Folks in their minds maybe they didn’t want to talk with us before, maybe they’re willing to talk to us now. So, we’re just trying to use every type of avenue to solve these cases to bring some closure to the family.”

Chief Hill says the former detectives will mentor and coach his detectives as they review every piece of evidence.

“Perhaps we missed something in our very thorough case review. We’re human, so we’re asking someone else to come in and just kind of go over and look over our shoulders as we re-examine these cases,” explains Chief Hill.

All the former officers and agents are volunteering their time to help the department. If you have a tip or a case that you’d like for them to look into, call Horry County Police Major Crimes Unit at 843-915-8031.