Created in 1993 as the "Special Crimes Unit," the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit (CMHU) was reorganized under Prosecutor Michael Dvorak in January 2003. The renaming of the unit reflects the focus being returned to the investigation of homicides, suspicious deaths, and injuries so serious that the victim may die as a result. The name change also reflects the national movement among law enforcement agencies to designate "Special Victims Units" as those which investigate crimes of sexual assault.
CMHU is led by a Commander, who is a retired police officer and an employee of the Prosecutor's Office. The CMHU also includes an Assistant Commander, four Investigators, and four Crime Scene Technicians, who are assigned to the unit by their respective police agencies: the South Bend Police Department, the Mishawaka Police Department, and the St. Joseph County Police Department. An additional Investigator, who reviews "cold cases," is employed by the Prosecutor's Office, and is assigned to work toward bringing conclusion to older cases which remain unsolved.
The CMHU is equipped with a specially marked van containing equipment for on-scene investigation and evidence collection, an in-house laboratory with testing equipment, and secure evidence storage areas. CMHU offices also house interview rooms equipped with digital video and audio recording equipment, and a garage in which vehicles that may contain evidence may be securely stored.
The CMHU is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with normal office hours from 8:00am until 4:30pm weekdays.
From 2003 through 2006, CMHU investigated a total of 125 cases, with 65 determined to be homicides:
|Case Type||Number of Cases|
Of the 125 cases investigated between 2003 and 2006, 111 (or 88.8%) of the cases have been solved.
Anyone with information regarding a homicide or suspicious death may contact CMHU at 574-235-5009 or CrimeStoppers of South Bend at 574-288-STOP or 800-342-STOP.