The following quotation is taken from Chapter Seven of Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns. Detective Steve Rowland of the New Hampshire State Police has read it and approved its inclusion in the book.
“Forget about the first two days (of a murder investigation) being critical; when a murder begins to recede into the past beyond a year, there can be no doubt that the original rush is fading fast. Picture a competent, resourceful investigator such as Detective Steve Rowland of the New Hampshire State Police simply running out of new information and, with limited resources stretching his department to the limit, finding a new case dropped on his desk. Under no circumstances would a man of the caliber of Rowland allow his concentration on the Stacey Burns case to be compromised. When the possibility that this case might disappear into the nebulous ‘cold case’ category, the detective bristles. ‘As long as I’m around, I will not give up on this case,’ he says.”
“Cases that he is working fall into a category of ‘open-unsolved,’ a classification which he says better describes what he does.”
In a powerful statement, he describes why he will not give up. “I am the voice of the victim,” he says with conviction. Clearly, the victims have no voice to speak for themselves.
Detective Steve Rowland retired not long after he shared his general insights into a typical murder investigation. He could not specifically address any details about the Stacey Burns case.
Our question for the day? Since the lead investigator has retired, does the victim still have a voice? We can all sincerely hope so.
Author’s note: It has been over two years since my conversation with Steve Rowland.
Sometimes retired officers continue to care about and work on cases. I hope Rowland is one of them.