Special investigator comes out of retirement to work on Kennewic - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Special investigator comes out of retirement to work on Kennewick cold cases

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Special Investigator Wehner has worked through two suspicious infant deaths and several missing persons cases within the last year. He goes through hundreds of pages in each case file and organizes them by subject, rather than by time and date. Special Investigator Wehner has worked through two suspicious infant deaths and several missing persons cases within the last year. He goes through hundreds of pages in each case file and organizes them by subject, rather than by time and date.

KENNEWICK, WA- A former local detective with 30 plus years of law enforcement experience is enticed back to work, in hopes of helping out on some of the oldest cases, gone cold.

It has been one year since Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg talked Detective Al Wehner back into the hundreds of pages of case reports. Investigations are his passion and that could bring closure to families desperately searching for answers after all these years.

"He threw something out in very general terms shortly after I retired," explained Wehner. 

The Chief and now Special Investigator Wehner grew up in Richland together and starting their policing careers at just about the same time. "When I heard that Al was going to retire, number one I was surprised he was going to retire. I was a little irritated at him because he also did all the heavy lifting on putting together our Special Investigative Unit," Chief Hohenberg told NBC Right Now, finding it hard to accept Special Investigator Wehner's retirement in 2014.

When a small amount of money became available to pay someone part time to look into cold cases at the department, Wehner always stood out. "Some of these old cases go back to 1976. People may have figured, 'What is being done for my daughter? For my mother? Or my sister?' Or whoever it may be," said Chief Hohenberg.

"In cases like homicide cases where the victims cannot speak for themselves, you have to have a voice for them," explained Special Investigator Wehner. "It boils down to work ethic and at the end of the day, what you can produce," said the Chief, admiring Wehner's drive..

Special Investigator Wehner says he does not want much credit and says other detectives have done most of the evidence work for him. "I have the time to be able to devote to a case, that a regular detective may not have because they have other pressing issues they need to work on," Wehner explained.

However, the Chief knows Wehner is an asset to our community, saying he has shown it through other cases,"His attention to detail, being tenacious on making sure that all different areas are examined. Everything from his work, to reviewing what patrol had done originally, what the detectives had done. Including following through with what the crime lab had done, I think that led to the success of a conviction (in this specific case), then later onto another trial and reaffirming the original conviction," said Chief Hohenberg.

Special Investigator Wehner has worked through two suspicious infant deaths and several missing persons cases within the last year. He goes through hundreds of pages in each case file and organizes them by subject, rather than by time and date. 

One of those notable cases is the disappearance of Sofia Juarez, who also happened to be the first Amber Alert used in Washington State. Wehner says that will be one of his later cases based on the volume of that file.

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