The Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney on Wednesday took its resurrected cold-case unit digital, hoping to enlist the public's assistance in solving old crimes.
The office also began posting a "Consumer Corner" to help people avoid being victimized by scammers. Both features were launched in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights week.
"Every year, our office seeks justice for thousands of crime victims," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a written statement. "The public has a vital role, to both educate themselves against consumer crimes and to work with us to solve violent crimes, sometimes long after they happen."
The cold case unit has helped solve five major cases since Rosen restored it in 2011. His predecessor, Dolores Carr, had eliminated it to save money but was criticized for spending part of the savings on hiring two public relations people.
The first cold case to be featured on the site is the 1982 slaying in Sunnyvale of 15-year-old Palo Alto resident Karen Stitts, whose body was found near a bus stop near El Camino Real and South Wolfe Road. She had been stabbed nearly 60 times.
"We haven't forgotten Karen and we want your help to find her killer," Rosen said.
According to the website, cold-case unit leader Ted Kajani is seeking more information about a possible clue that first surfaced at the time of the crime, 31 years ago.
A machinist working late the night of Sept. 4, 1982, noticed a white panel truck with a stripe on its side and a rectangular bumper sticker park near where Karen's body was found.
The first tip offered in the Consumer Corner is for anyone planning to remodel. The busy but little-known Consumer Protection Unit not only fights big fraud cases in court, but also attempts to resolve consumer disputes through free mediation.
"We just want to reach out to consumers to let them know we're here if they need us," said supervising prosecutor Yen Dang.
The unit can also answer common consumer questions, including whether a business can charge any extra fee for use of a credit card. The answer in that case is no, Yeng said, but it can on a debit card.
The cold-case site can be seen at http://www.sccgov.org/sites/da/Pages/murder-of-karen-stitt.aspx and the Consumer Corner at http://www.sccgov.org/sites/da/ConsumerCorner/Pages/home.aspx.
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport