There are roughly 200,000 killers roaming the violent American landscape who have so far gotten away with murder……but their days of freedom may be running out thanks to two women in law enforcement who excelled in their careers and are now stalking these violent offenders on TNT’s “Cold Justice” television series. Yolanda McClary, former Las Vegas Police Deparment detective, worked more than 2,000 cases as a CSI investigator and was so successful that Marg Helgenberger patterned her character on CSI after her.
McClary recalls watching CSI on television along with other members of the LVPD and commenting afterwards, “There must be some mistake here. She’s nothing like me.”
But when she turned around in the room and sought agreement from her fellow officers she was met with a chorus of “Oh, no, she’s just like you.”
McClary laughs and says, “Helgenberger does play a no-nonsense character on CSI, and I guess there is some of that in me.”
McClary teams up with acclaimed Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler who has never lost a murder case during her career as a prosecutor in the Houston District Attorney’s Office. She says, “I’ve tried 68 murder cases and never lost.”
On the excellent new TNT series Siegler and McClary combine their skills along with those of other investigators to solve as many of the 2,000 cold cases across the United States as the series will allow them. Hopefully, the series will last a long time, so more cases will be solved!
Siegler says during an episode which involves the murder of a beloved senior citizen in Louisiana that “in this case the original investigation focused too much on not having fingerprints, DNA or a strong witness. It should have focused more on what they did have.”
Siegler and McClary have to solve these cold cases the old-fashioned way because many of these crimes occurred before the advent of DNA. They piece together a myriad of details and circumstances to build circumstantial evidence cases which can be even more compelling than a DNA match or an eyewitness if done by pros like Siegler and McClary.
“I go after what I want. Type A personality, driven. Probably bossy, pushy…..cold cases go unresolved for a lot of reasons,” McClary says. “Our hope is to go into these small, rural areas to hopefully tell these victim’s families who killed their loved ones. It’s a tremendouse emotional moment.”
McClary began her remarkable career with LVPD in 1985 and became a crime scene investigator in 1995. She has specialized training in homicide, sexual assault, shooting, robbery and burglary investigations.
“It’s always been my priority in these type of cases to uncover anything and everything that we could to ultimately go after the suspect and serve justice,” she further said.
“Cold cases go unresolved for a host of reasons. Sometimes you don’t have the right witnesses , or your evidence doesn’t come back to the smoking gun so to speak. Those are the reasons that can cause a case to go cold,” McClary further said.
McClary was so successful during her career as a Las Vegas CSI, that during the last two years of her career there she focused not only on pursuing major perpetrators, but also on connecting offenders of serious crimes to other offenses.
Fans of CSI should be doubly pleased to be able to see the real-life inspiration of Marg Helgenberger at work in the flesh at 9 p.m., CST, Tuesdays on TNT on “Cold Justice.”
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