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I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit volunteers for solving the Bernhardt murders. Anyone who lived in Montana in the ‘70s remembers how this heinous crime shocked communities and left people wondering how this could have happened to a couple who were loved by so many. The crime devastated the Bernhardt and Reich families and left a void in the lives of all who knew Linda and Clifford Bernhardt.

Years passed and without any substantial leads, the case grew cold in spite of law enforcement’s best efforts. In 2012, the Yellowstone County Cold Case Unit was established and brought hope that the double murder would be solved. The unit was comprised of experienced, volunteer law enforcement and others who worked tirelessly for seven years. With a $5,000 annual budget, funding was limited and did not extend far enough to cover the cost of testing associated with DNA identification, the means by which the Bernhardt case was finally solved.

As a sister of Linda Bernhardt, my family and I waited 45 years. Words cannot express how grateful I am to those who gave their personal time and money. Without their efforts, Cecil Caldwell would have gotten away with murder.

The technology to help solve existing cold cases is here, but funding is desperately needed. A GoFundMe page, “Support for DNA Testing in Cold Cases,” has been established. Please help me in giving back, as many did for us.

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Kelly Reich

Boise, Idaho

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