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Huge Public Response in ’99 MO Murder Case

Brett Blume
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WASHINGTON DC (KMOX) - It’s capturing headlines from coast-to-coast — the 12-year-old case of a Missouri murder victim who died with encrypted notes in his pocket.

“We’ve received hundreds of letters and well over a thousand e-mail tips,” says Dan Olson, chief of the FBI Laboratory’s Cryptanalysis & Rackateering Records Unit (CRRU), “and we’ll be going through every single one of those.”

McCormick’s decomposing body was found in a West Alton cornfield in June 1999.

In his pockets, two notes containing encrypted messages.

For more than a decade, the code has stumped the FBI’s best cryptologists, so last week they released images of McCormick’s hand-written notes and asked the public for help.

“From a cryptographic point of view, it’s English,” Olson tells KMOX News.  “It matches the frequences of English, except for the absence of vowels.  Aside from that it has all the consonants it should have.”

There is one exception to the “absence of vowels”, Olson adds — too many “E’s”.

The FBI welcomes any and all offers of public assistance, but to deflect the rising tide of e-mails and phone calls they’ve established a website where tips can be submitted — http://forms.fbi.gov/code.

Olson swears they’re far from giving up on cracking this code, which in turn could crack the case.

“There is no statute of limitations on murder,” Olson says.

“We’ll work this one as long as it takes.”

Copyright KMOX Radio

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