RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)–It’s a brand-new push for justice for dozens of families across Richmond.

Playing cards that shine a light on some of Richmond’s cold case homicides launched this week.

The deck of cards were passed out to each inmate at the Richmond City Jail on Wednesday, said Sheriff Antionette Irving.

Each card features 52 unsolved homicides in the city of Richmond. It shows each victim’s photo and case details.

Deck of playing cards feature 52 unsolved murders across Richmond
Deck of playing cards feature 52 unsolved murders across Richmond. Photo credit: Nicole Dantzler

The oldest case dates back to about 2015.

She said it’s a collaborative effort between the police department, Crime Stoppers, the Attorney General’s office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

“Our goal was to just help families,” she said.

The project was brought up before Irving took office, but she said they’ve been preparing for this rollout within the past couple of months.

“We’ve gotten several reactions from inmates, and they are really enthusiastic about helping out,” Irving said. “They’re understanding that they know a lot of people on the cards.”

Sergeant James Foster said in many ways this is personal. His son was murdered on April 30, 2021. His case is unsolved and is included in the deck of cards, too.

“My feelings of course are like any parent–all over the place,” Foster said. “People talk inside the jail and outside the jail.”

Police Chief Gerald Smith said cold case detectives chose from a list of cases that are on the verge of being solved.

“Those kind of cold cases you have where they frustrate a detective more than anything. Where they may know who did it, but they just need someone to say something,” he said.

Chantae Leach isn’t giving up on finding her fiancée’s killer.

“If my kids don’t deserve nothing else, they deserve justice.” she said.

On August 22, 2019, Antoine Deleston was found dead in his car after being shot in the head. It happened on Conrad Street.

Nearly three years later, Leach said there’ve been no arrests or answers.

“Taking an innocent person’s life, that’s not right,” she said.

Leach knows what all the cold case families are going through. Even though Deleston’s case wasn’t chosen for this deck of cards, she hopes answers to his case will come soon.

“His number one thing was his kids, his family. His mom, his sisters, his brothers like he’s going to always be remembered,” she added.

Sheriff Irving said these cards will eventually be handed out to the community.