OSBI adds agent, two criminalists to Cold Case Unit
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Director Ricky Adams has added a third agent to the Bureau’s Cold Case Unit. Special Agent Tammy Ferrari is an 18-year law enforcement veteran who has been with the OSBI since 2012. Most recently, she was the lead agent on the missing Welch Girls case, which resulted in the arrest of a suspect after more than twenty years.
“Tammy is a hard working and dedicated agent,” said OSBI Director Ricky Adams. “Her passion for justice is unparalleled. She was assigned the missing Welch Girls case in 2012 and for eight years she has been a tenacious advocate for the girls and their families. In that case alone, she has conducted hundreds of interviews; searched dozens of wells, mine shafts and cellars; vetted hundreds of tips and worked closely with law enforcement partners, the District Attorney’s Office and volunteers. She will be a great addition to our Cold Case Unit.”
Agent Ferrari joined the OSBI in 2012. Prior to coming to the OSBI, she worked for the Ft. Smith Police Department. Ferrari started in the Patrol Division and left as a homicide detective in the Criminal Investigation Division. While at the OSBI, she has worked on a variety of cases including high profile ones like the Welch Girls case, as well as other major crimes. She enjoys the challenge of a cold case and is eager to join the Unit.
“I have had a passion for cold cases throughout my career; they are challenging and thought provoking,” said Special Agent Tammy Ferrari. “I enjoy reviewing the old case file to understand what has already been done in the case, as well as getting to know the victim. I like to think through different angles and different perspectives of the case. I believe cold cases can be solved. The victims deserve justice and their families need answers. I really appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by Director Adams to join the Cold Case Unit and pursue justice on behalf of those who no longer have a voice.”
Lt. Wendy Duke
Director Adams has also added two full-time criminalists to the Cold Case Unit. Lt. Wendy Duke and Criminalist Antje Stambaugh work with agents to identify cases where DNA might be a viable option for generating leads.
If DNA is an option, the criminalists track down the evidence and process it in an effort to develop a DNA profile that can be searched in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is the national DNA database created and maintained by the FBI.
If there is a “hit” in CODIS, the criminalists will provide that information to the agents, who will pick up the case from there. Having dedicated personnel at the lab who are looking for and processing cold case evidence rounds out the team.
Director Adams began the Cold Case Unit in November 2018. At that time, he assigned two full-time agents and one intelligence analyst to the unit. The unit’s first victory came in the Charles Neiman case.
Mr. Neiman was murdered in Boise City in June of 2013. In December 2018, the unit reviewed the case file and identified evidence to be re-processed. That evidence pointed to three suspects that were arrested in February 2019. All three plead guilty in the summer of 2019.
The Donald Hawley case was the next to be resolved. Mr. Hawley was murdered in April 1995 and in November 2019, an arrest was made in his case. In June 2020, an arrest was made in a Muskogee serial rape case from the mid-90’s. And in July 2020, there was an arrest in the Paul Aikman case. Mr. Aikman was stabbed to death in September 1985.
Currently, the OSBI has more than 400 cold cases but statewide there are more than 1,200 cold cases. Even if not requested to be the lead agency on a cold case, the OSBI Cold Case Unit can assist local jurisdictions with their cold cases by providing guidance, offering investigative suggestions and processing evidence.