Cold Case Team To Probe 2001 Lansing Zoo Killing
LANSING (AP) – A cold case team has been formed to investigate the death of a woman who was shot once by a high-powered rifle from about 100 yards away as she walked with her 5-year-old daughter toward the entrance of a Michigan zoo in 2001.
Michigan State Police announced Tuesday that they are assisting Lansing police in the probe of Bernita White’s death. The 41-year-old computer engineer from Eaton County’s Delta Township was fatally shot on the afternoon of June 23, 2001, at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.
The cold case team will review all case files and evidence, state police said in a statement.
“We are hoping that re-exposure to the news media and to social networks will generate new leads in this case,” said state police Detective Sgt. Lisa Gee-Cram, who is assigned to the cold case team. “We believe there is someone out there who can provide critical information to help solve this case and provide closure for Bernita White’s family.”
The case has remained unsolved, although police previously identified White’s husband, Artis White, as a person of interest.
At the time of the killing, Artis White was a detective sergeant with the Michigan State Police. He now is a sergeant assigned to the Flint post, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Investigators have reached out to him for help, and “he’s been communicating with the team,” state police Detective 1st Lt. Sean Furlong said.
A message seeking comment from White was left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
“We’re taking a fresh look at this with open minds,” Furlong said. “We’re not eliminating anybody, and we’re not focusing on anybody.”
Bernita White was attending a birthday party with family members at the zoo on the day of the shooting.
Artis White, 52, told investigators at the time that he attended the party with his wife in the early afternoon and left to pick up their other daughter. He returned to the zoo about an hour after the shooting.
White has maintained his innocence, saying investigators wrongly focused on him and GPS evidence and witnesses prove he wasn’t near the zoo when his wife was shot.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)