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Volunteers Help Police Search For Clues In 1994 Missing Man’s Case

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SEVERNA PARK, Md. (WJZ)—Dozens of volunteers gathered in Severna Park on Monday, hoping to help police solve an 18-year-old cold case.

Monique Griego has more on who they were looking for.

Jimmy Cole, 21, hasn’t been seen since April 1994. His family is hoping renewed interest in the case might finally give them some answers.

Miko is just one of several rescue dogs scouring the woods of Severna Park in an effort to solve a mystery 18 years old.

“As you can understand, parents and family are devastated. [They’ve] been dealing with this for many years,” said Det. John Gajda, Anne Arundel County police.

Anne Arundel County police and volunteers are hoping to find any trace of James or “Jimmy” Cole. The then 21-year-old has been missing since April 10, 1994.

His parents now live out-of-state, but spoke with WJZ about the case by phone.

“We’re happy that they’re trying to find some answers, which we’ve never had,” said Dorothy Cole, mother of missing man.

Police say a shopping center in the 500-block of Ritchie Highway is the last place Jimmy was seen. Investigators believe he ended his night at the Shangri La Lounge, which is no longer open.

Witnesses say at around 1:30 a.m. Jimmy was intoxicated when he left the plaza to walk home just a few blocks away. He never made it and was never seen or heard from again.

“We knew that something had happened to Jimmy. We knew something was wrong. Suspected found play immediately,” said Ron Cole, father of missing man.

“He frequented the woods, campsites. So we’re going to check those areas,” said Jay Schline, Anne Arundel County police.

Volunteers are heading out to wooded areas around the shopping center that were never searched in the past.

“Since it is a cold case and we’re probably looking for bones,” said Sharon Ballweg, Mason-Dixon Rescue Dogs.

Despite the bleak possibilities of what searches might find, Cole’s family is desperate for closure.

“It’s been very hurtful and it affects the whole family. We’re just so sad that it has never been found what happened to our son,” Dorothy Cole said.

Family members and police don’t believe Jimmy Cole simply ran off. They say he had a serious girlfriend at the time and never picked up his paycheck from work.

Because Jimmy was adopted, up until recently police did not have DNA to test evidence against.

They’re hoping Monday’s search might yield new clues.

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