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Sometimes we talk Legendary Minnesotans, and those are people or groups of people who have done something above and beyond that gives them a spotlight in our state's history.

But other times, we talk about a Minnesota in "the legend says a French explorer known as Jacques Marie St. Hamms brought beer to this area of the country. The legend is a total fabrication, but you may find some people that today still believe. I hope not, as I just made it up, but it's 2021, anything's goes, right?

An actual legend I remember hearing around 2015 was that Minnesota law enforcement made playing cards featuring the state's cold cases. And you know what? It's true.

Minnesota Cold Case Playing Cards Are Real?

Yes. My first search brought me to WCCO-TV from May 1, 2008.

(WCCO) — Minnesota prisons will soon be flooded with 10,000 decks of playing cards. These are not typical cards but rather ones with the photos of 52 murder victims and missing persons printed on them, along with information about the crimes.

The card program is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. BCA Superintendent Tim O’Malley says it makes sense to go behind bars where there is likely to be information about unsolved crimes — the equivalent of conducting 10,000 interviews at once. (Source)


The official name was of the project was the Cold Case Playing Card Initiative, and according to the information I found on the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension website,

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and law enforcement agencies statewide, has created a deck of cold case playing cards. These cards highlight 52 violent unsolved homicide, missing person and unidentified remains cases that have occurred throughout Minnesota in the past 50 years.

How Did The BCA Get It Narrowed Down to Just 52?

The BCA sent a request to more than 500 Minnesota law enforcement agencies, requesting nominations for cases to be featured on the cards. The BCA Cold Case Unit Review Board reviewed submissions and selected 52 cold cases to be featured in this initiative. Written permission and photographs were then collected from the families of victims, and the cards were assembled using victim photos and details of the investigation.

Was It Successful?

You can see most of the cards in PDF form if you visit THIS website.  I've set up the search, so just go thru and take a look. In the meantime, a few samples from the cards.

Five Cards from Minnesota's Cold Case Playing Cards

Back in 2008, Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released 52 playing cards with images of 52 cold case files. These are just five of those cards. You can view the rest in video form here.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams 6a to 10a on Y-105 FM's Early Morning Show.

And now for something completely different. Small towns with big things.

12 Minnesota Small Towns Known for Big Things

There are tons of small towns around Minnesota that shape our state for a variety of reasons. And some of these small towns are known for pretty big things despite their population size.

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