D.C.

D.C. police hope YouTube will help crack cold cases

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D.C. police are taking their crime solving online by posting videos on YouTube. They hope the tactic will help them crack some of the district's cold cases.

"You can't be free if you don't have answers, and I don't have answers," Mildred Johnson pleads in one of the videos.

It's been almost seven years since Johnson lost her son, Marcus Johnson. Everyday she prays for an arrest. Marcus, 35, was fatally shot in the 1400 block of 1st Street NW.

Mildred adds, "Maybe this is my year, maybe this is the time that someone out there will stand up for my son."

Mildred and two other mothers are hoping their children's cold cases will get closure through YouTube.

"Please just come forward, and tell what you know about Marcus' death," Mildred's video continues.

D.C. police produced and posted the short videos, which concern one missing persons case and two murders, in pursuit of new leads.

Deborah Seals-Craven's son was the victim in a homicide featured in one of the cold case videos.

"I never thought that I would have buried my child," she says.

Valencia Harris is searching for her missing daughter.

"We really need your help. I've been searching for my daughter for almost two years now," Harris says in her video.

Lieutenant Robert Alder works for the homicide branch and says detectives get tips by featuring recent crimes on their YouTube channel. The cold case squad wants the same success.

 "By featuring the families, by trying to let the public know that every single victim was cared about and loved by somebody, we hope that they will ultimately provide some incentive for the people who know about these cases to come forward," Alder explained.

Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest of conviction.

Right now, the YouTube videos offer renewed hope for three families, but there are still so many families waiting for the same opportunity. There are more than 3,000 unsolved murders in the district dating back to the 60s.

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