Six of Spades = Arrest

Another cold case has been solved in Florida thanks to playing cards that were distributed in July to 93,000 inmates in the state’s prisons. This is the second arrest directly attributed to the playing cards.

I understand that a similar initiative is currently underway in Canada. I hope the project gets enough funding and support from the government so that the cards make it into Canadian correctional centres as soon as possible. The sooner these cards get into the prisons—the sooner law enforcement can start following up on the tips they generate.

Let’s hope Quebec’s police will be as thorough with follow-up as their Floridian counterparts. Families, including the Allores, are desperately waiting for resolution of their loved ones’ cases.

Cold-Case Playing Cards Lead To Arrest
By Josh Poltilove of The Tampa Tribune
Published: November 8, 2007

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bryan Lamar Curry, 36, at his home Tuesday in connection with the strangulation of his ex-girlfriend nearly three years ago. The woman, 34-year-old Ingrid Lugo, was found dead in December 2004 in a Manatee County retention pond.

“We’re quite pleased,” Manatee sheriff’s office spokesman Dave Bristow said of the arrest. “This guy was a suspect right from the get go, but we just didn’t quite have enough. We feel the card pushed us over the top.”

Curry’s arrest may be the second case solved because of the playing card initiative, an FDLE news release states. The statewide initiative’s goal is to crack Florida’s unsolved homicide and missing-person cases by handing out playing cards to Florida’s prison inmates. Lugo’s card was the six of spades in the first-edition deck.

“Tips from the cards continue to come in, and our law enforcement partners are aggressively working those leads,” FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a release. “Our condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Ms. Lugo. We believe there will be more families who are ultimately provided with answers through the statewide playing cards.”

Lugo’s body was found fully clothed, minus shoes, in the retention pond the same day her brother came to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office after she had failed to return from meeting with Curry, an arrest warrant shows.

Two inmates at the Cross City Correctional Institution saw Lugo’s playing card and called Crime Stoppers to report Curry’s involvement in her death, Bristow said. Curry had served time at the Cross City institution on forgery charges.

Curry had told the inmates information only a person involved in Lugo’s death would know, Bristow said.

Detectives initially considered him a suspect but didn’t have enough probable cause to arrest him, Bristow said.

In July, about 100,000 cold-case decks were distributed to about 93,000 inmates in the state’s prisons.

“This case won’t be the last one solved,” Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough said. “If you’re a criminal on the lam, we are going to you.”

To learn more about the initiative and view the 104 cases from the two decks, go to www.fdle.state.fl.us/OSI/unsolved.

Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at jpoltilove@tampatrib.com or (813) 259-7691.

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