Sympathetic Sleuths

Bloggers ask MPD to bring in outside forensic team for assistance

by Yusef Najafi
Published on December 23, 2010, 3:31am | Comments

It's been more than four years since Robert Wone was found dead inside the Dupont home of his gay college friend Joseph Price. And the case remains unsolved.

The four local gay men who maintain an analytical blog about the mysterious homicide, ''Who Murdered Robert Wone,'' are asking MPD to seek help from the Vidocq Society of Philadelphia, an organization of forensic experts who work with local law enforcement on cold cases at no cost.

''Vidocq is almost too good to be true,'' says Doug Johnson, one of four men who operate the Wone blog. ''It sounds like something out of a novel or movie or something, but it's real.''

Johnson describes Vidocq as a collection of the world's foremost forensic experts, with 82 members from 17 countries, gathering once a month to get involved in a cold case. In a Nov. 24 letter to MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Johnson asks Lanier to extend a hand to Vidocq.

Johnson says the request is not meant to imply that the Wone case deserves special attention over the many of the cases that remain unsolved in D.C.

''I'm not putting forward that it's meriting any special attention that other cases aren't, we're just simply putting it out there.''

While the court trial against the three gay men – Price, his partner Victor Zaborsky and their roommate Dylan Ward, all brought forth on obstruction of justice charges, wrapped in May, with all being found not guilty of those charges – a wrongful death lawsuit for $20 million dollars against the men, filed by Wone's widow, Kathy Wone, continues.

The latest development involved motions brought by the defendants to throw the case out, or gag those involved from speaking to the press. A judge dismissed those motions Dec. 10. The civil trial is scheduled to begin in October 2011.

In the meantime, Johnson is awaiting Lanier's response.

''Vidocq says that approximately 90 percent of the cases they've accepted and have been involved with, have been resolved,'' he says.

''It's not that the MPD hasn't done their job, it's not that they're not good enough. It's just clear that the Wone case is a complete bafflement … and our sense is that this is exactly the kind of case that [Vidocq] would be ready to take.''

MPD did not return a request for comment before Metro Weekly deadline.

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