Even with modern technology and crime shows which wrap up a case in 60-minutes, the truth is stranger. Cases can be labeled cold even when the suspected perpetrated is known and locked up.

Two cases in Las Vegas have their anniversaries this time of year and both show how that can happen.

Dorothy Sargent

Not realize he hugged his mother for the last time, Keith Sargent watched his mom limp to an airplane to fly back to Las Vegas.

“I hope this isn’t the last time I see her,” Sargent thought to himself that day after the 2005 Thanksgiving holiday.

Sargent didn’t think his thoughts that day would land into reality. On December 9, 2005, Las Vegas Metro Police found Dorothy Sargent’s house burglarized and the 84-year-old woman’s wrists and ankles bound with yarn. She had been sexually assaulted and her attacker had choked her to death.

Dorothy Sargent’s murder went cold for decades. In 2018 a homicide investigator requested the lab retest DNA recovered at the crime scene.

The profile belonged to a criminal Dino Marks, 48. LVMPD have a face and a name to go on.

The last time law enforcement had contact with Marks was in 2010 in Los Angeles. He had a criminal history including burglary and theft.

In February 2018, a Las Vegas Detective asked for the DNA from Sargent’s killing to be reexamined using up-to-date testing hits the department had just received. The DNA profile would be the first to be tested against the national database.

In June there was a hit. Using fingerprints from the FBI, Metro and California authorities had their suspect.

Cary Sayegh

In 1978, 6-year-old Cary Sayegh was kidnapped. His body has never been discovered, and the case is still open.

Yet the police think they know who did it. Howard Burgess.

Early in the investigation, Jerald Howard Burgess emerged as the suspect. Burgess already had convictions for tax evasion and sexual assault.

Former investigators who were involved in the case believe there is no reason to doubt Burgess’ involvement.

Law enforcement in Las Vegas arrested Burgess in the kidnapping. The jury disagreed and acquitted Burgess.

The MPD and FBI won’t close the case until detectives can answer one question: “Where is Cary’s body?”

Las Vegas Cold Case Detail

What is a ‘cold case?’

Nicholas Wooldridge, a prominent Las Vegas defense attorney explains.

“A cold case is any murder, missing person, or suspicious death which is not actively investigated by the original assigned investigators,” said Wooldridge.

Cold case murders fall into three categories:

  • Unsolved: No known suspects
  • Unresolved: Suspects are known/suspected but have avoided successful prosecution
  • Unidentified: The victim’s identity is unknown

The Takeaway

You can reach the Cold Case Detail via email or phone:

Email: ColdCaseHomicide@lvmpd.com

Hotline: 702-828-8973