RAEFORD, N.C. (WNCN)–The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office announced the formation of a new Cold Case Unit. Captain Steven Blakley, Chief of Detectives, said the unit will solely focus on solving violent and felonious crimes of the past.

“We’ve got some high-profile cases in Hoke County from many years ago, and it got to a point where we dedicated one or two persons as a unit– that’s all they’re going to concentrate on,” said Blakely. He said the unit will dedicate their time by following up on potential leads, talking to possible witnesses, and collecting any new evidence.

“We’ve done it for years and years where we get tips on cold cases, myself and other detectives will go out and follow up on leads, but then maybe we get another tip and another set of detectives would get it.” Blakley said having the same detectives on the case will hopefully help move these cases forward as well as help detectives build relationships with the families of the victims.

The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office said their goal is to reduce the number of unsolved cases. Blakely said the unit is currently focusing on five high profile cases. He said advancements in technology including DNA testing will aid in that effort. He said, “let’s go ahead and see what we can do and see who we can help… help these families from many, many, years ago try to find some peace and resolution of what these families experienced and what they went through.”

By focusing on these cases, Blakley hopes it will bring closure to families that have waited months, or even years, for answers. He said, “The fact that somebody is there and that these families have been made aware of, there’s just somebody there they’ll hear from… Bringing justice to any family is a huge relief and a non-monetary reward that we all get to experience.”