‘No matter how much time goes by’: Spokane Police arrest suspect in one of many cold case murders

SPOKANE, Wash. — Detectives say Tracy Pruitt is responsible for the murder of Archie Rutherford in 1982. It’s been four decades, and after Pruitt was arrested for the murder in Los Angeles, police linked his DNA.

Court documents show Rutherford’s wife walked into their home on May 25, 1982, and found her husband brutally murdered.

It’s just one of many unsolved cases the Spokane Police Department has on its books.

The department couldn’t talk specifics about the cold case because it is still considered an active investigation.

“No matter how much time goes by, they don’t lose focus that these are crimes that we want to solve because of their nature. We want to hold people accountable if possible, and we want to bring closure to the family and the community,” SPD Corporal Nick Briggs said.

The department has over 100 cold cases it’s currently handling. In recent years, detectives have solved three of those, which the department says is a huge deal.

“We’ll solve a couple of them in rather short order. Sometimes detectives will continue to be frustrated and not be able to make as much progress. But I can tell you that we’re are actively working a number of them and again, detectives haven’t given up and still trying to find answers,” Briggs said.

SPD doesn’t have a cold case unit but says it has dedicated detectives who have additional training and make those cases their priority, when they are able to.

Detectives are skilled in new technology and investigative methods.

“One of the huge areas is information being able to be tied to jurisdiction to jurisdiction with simple computer programs and the internet, so really every facet of police investigations has changed and has evolved as technology continues to do the same,” Briggs said.

READ: Suspect connected by DNA to Spokane cold case murder from 1982 was named in investigation 40 years ago