New ‘Crime Stoppers’ TV show spotlights NWI cold cases
BY Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org August 14, 2012 5:52PM
Gary detective Jeff Hornyak is surrounded by lights during a taping for the tv show Crime Stoppers Case Files in Hobart Tuesday Aug. 14, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:18AM
Gary police have been trying for more than four years to find enough evidence to file charges in the shooting death of 13-month-old Josiah Shaw.
Despite numerous stories in the local media, they haven’t gotten enough to make an arrest.
Detective Cpl. Jeffrey Hornyak is taking one last shot, though, by helping to feature the unsolved crime on a new TV show, “Crime Stoppers Case Files.”
The show is similar to “America’s Most Wanted” in that it features cold cases in an attempt to get tips from the public to help make an arrest. It has a more local focus, though, airing specific shows in the region where a crime happened. The show first started in December 2009 in Cleveland and has since included Miami and Los Angeles.
The show is now focusing on the Chicago market, including unsolved homicides in Northwest Indiana. The show’s crew is in town this week filming interviews with police and family members of victims connected to several local cases, including that of Josiah Shaw, who was shot twice on Jan. 28, 2008, after the car he was in was stolen.
Police have already named the child’s father, Joe T. Noel, and uncle, Terry Noel, as people of interest in the case. However, Hornyak said that without someone stepping up to provide evidence, police can’t make an arrest.
“We need cooperating witnesses,” the Gary police officer said Tuesday morning before he began filming his interview at the Hobart Police Department.
Hornyak spoke on two other cases, including the shooting of Eddie Chafee, a Gary man who was killed in September 2009 by someone he knew but whom he would not identify, and Andrea Gray, who was killed as she was outside a Gary party in June 2008. A group of other people had gotten into an argument and had started shooting at one another; Gray was caught in the crossfire and died after being shot in the head.
Gray’s family took part in the filming Tuesday, including her sister, Taleysa Lampkin, who was also shot in the incident.
Lampkin sat on a stool in front of a green screen as Samantha Kinkopf, one of the show’s editors, asked her about the experience.
Kinkopf talked of leaving the house party as she and her sister walked their mother to a car when they began to hear loud noises. Kinkopf fell to the ground and didn’t realize her sister was dead until she was taken to a hospital.
She called on witnesses to come forward, noting that there were dozens of people in the area at the time.
“I would like somebody to come forward and say anything,” she said to the camera.
Their mother, Drenice Gray, said she was happy when the show contacted her about taking part.
“I was so happy that we could talk about it and people would really know what happened to our family,” she said.
Drenice Gray said she’s been frustrated that no arrests have been made and hopes the show will move the case forward.
Lisette Guillen, executive producer of the Chicago show, said the goal was to get the community involved to help solve the crimes.
“Some cases just need a phone call,” she said.
Show details to come
The show, which is being underwritten by ISG Energy and Chicago lawyer Andrew Hale, offers an anonymous number that anyone can call and also offers a reward. Guillen said the show will air on a Chicago station — which has not been named yet — this fall with 13 original episodes. Guillen did not say at what time the show would air but said they were aiming for an audience that usually stays up late and would likely have seen some of the crimes.
Any of the cases that remain unsolved after the first airing will be shown again out of respect to family members and police, she said.
Co-creator Shawn Rech said he and partner Ralph McGreevy got the idea for the show when a friend in Cleveland announced his frustration with getting coverage from the local media, noting that stories on cold cases would often get bumped in favor of breaking news. They decided to create something more reliable.
“Because media exposure really works,” Rech said.
The show has helped to make 10 arrests in Cleveland and Miami since it started airing, he said, and has won eight Emmy awards. He credited Guillen, who saw the show while on vacation in Florida, with bringing it to Chicago.
Guillen said the show will start out featuring cold cases from Northwest Indiana but that each episode will likely feature a mix of cases, including some from Chicago and its Illinois suburbs.
The Gary cases aren’t the only ones from Northwest Indiana to be featured, though. Guillen said the show will also do a bit on the 2006 homicide of Naseeb Mohammed, the owner of Merrillville restaurant Aladdin Pita, and several cases in East Chicago.