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West Valley City • Six and a half years after Sherry Black was stabbed and killed in her South Salt Lake bookstore, her killing remains unsolved.
Her daughter, Heidi Miller, on Tuesday announced a training symposium that will teach law enforcement techniques to prevent other such cases from going cold.
"Out of this tragedy, my family and I want to do what we can to end the pain that we and thousands of other families are suffering," she said, standing with her husband, Greg Miller, the son of the late Larry H. Miller and former CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group, which owns the Utah Jazz.
The Millers also announced the formation of the Sherry Black Education Foundation, which will host the conference and help underwrite the cost of attending for those who need financial assistance.
"The hope is that the different techniques that are taught in this class can be implemented during the normal course of the investigation and hopefully find out who the perpetrator was before the case is cold," said Greg Miller.
The training is scheduled the week of June 26-30 and costs $200. During the first three days, forensic psychologist Richard Walter and criminologist Patrick Zirpoli will teach courses that focus on investigation aspects such as motivational factors and interviewing victims. Over the next two days, law enforcement will have one-on-one time with Walter and Zirpoli to review cold cases.
The conference will be "two-fold," Zirpoli said: "We teach them how to investigate [cases] properly from the beginning so they don't go cold, but we also will teach them the skills of how to investigate a cold case."
"When we go to a crime, we know what happened, when it happened," Zirpoli said. "We teach them that the 'why' is going to help them find the "who" a lot quicker."
The classes are aimed at building on basic police training that officers already have.
"Every investigator [has] a box that's dust-covered that's an old homicide that's been around a long time and we teach them how to blow the dust off that box and get into the case and start to investigate that case again," Zirpoli said.
Walter and Zirpoli got involved in Black's investigation when the case was looked at by the Vidocq Society, a Philadelphia-based club of detectives that Walter co-founded. The two crime scene consultants have twice flown to Utah to review the case.
"I revisit the Sherry Black case every day," Zirpoli said, adding he'll likely review the case while he's in Utah for the conference.
Black was killed at her B&W Billiards and Books at 3466 S. 700 East in the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2010.
Her husband, Earl Black, discovered her and called police at 1:43 p.m. Police haven't identified a motive; the perpetrator left behind valuable books and cash that a robber likely would have taken.
Investigators have no suspects or persons of interest, but they have a blood DNA sample from the assailant, likely from injuring a hand during the attack.
Police consider the investigation ongoing and test the DNA sample for a possible match every week, said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller.
The family's offer of a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Black's killer remains active.
Anyone with information about the case can contact South Salt Lake police by calling 801-840-4000. All calls received are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous. Tips can also be submitted through a website the family set up, Sherryblackinfo.com.