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Faces of murder victims, missing persons on inmate playing cards

Published: Jul. 5, 2011 at 9:38 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2011 at 9:57 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV)  - A South Carolina card game created to catch criminals is working.

In 2008 law enforcement started putting faces of missing persons and murder victims on playing cards.  The decks were then sold to inmates across the area.

Now nearly four years later officers confirm the game is a winner--regardless of who plays it.

"Every day these victims are in front of them, every day there's potential to remind them that [inmates] may have information," said Lt. Mike Baker with the York County Sheriff's office. "These are homicide victims, they are missing persons - so these are very, very serious cases."

Some of the mysteries are recent, like in 2007, when Omar Patel was gunned down at a Sunoco gas Station in Fort Mill

In 1992, a baby was found floating in the Catawba River - not from drowning, but from injuries before the infant was in the water.

Cases go as far back as 1977, when 15-year-old Eva DeBruhl vanished while mowing her lawn in Rock Hill.

Investigators hope the faces and stories will jog the memory of prison inmates to generate leads.

More than 50,000 decks have been sold throughout 28 prison facilities in South Carolina since 2008.

So far, eight cases have been solved.

"If we only solve one case per each edition of cards, we've accomplished something," said Baker.

There are 4 editions of the cards, each with new faces and unsolved mysteries like a John Doe, Hispanic male, who's skeletal remains were found in the woods outside Fort Mill.

All investigators need is one person to in prison, or out, to pick up a phone and put an end to these mysteries.

New York, Florida and California use the cards in state prisons as well. North Carolina has shown interest. The fourth edition of the South Carolina cards will be coming out in a few weeks.