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May 25, 2018

2/13/2018 7:29:00 AM
'Cold Justice' TV show plays a key role in the Mendez case
Hartman: 'It worked out well for us'
Brian Jopek

On Feb. 5, 2018 Robin Mendez, 69, Minocqua was arrested for the April 1982 murder of his wife, Barbara Mendez.

Three days later, on Thursday morning, Oneida County sheriff Grady Hartman told The Lakeland Times the program "Cold Justice," which airs on the Oxygen Network, played a key role in the arrest of Mendez.

One of the show's producers is Dick Wolf of "Law and Order" fame.

The story of the Mendez case, Hartman said, will be the first episode in the program's 2018 season, which will air in June.

"I haven't watched it," he said. "(Capt.) Terri Hook has watched them all."

Hartman said the sheriff's department has been in contact with program representatives for a few years.

"They were reviewing the case and getting their stuff together and it all kind of came together for us earlier this year," he said. "We did our due diligence, looked at it and we thought 'Cold Justice' brought a lot to the table."

Hartman said the show's staff has "a lot more resources" at its disposal than he does. He said Mendez family members had contacted "Cold Justice."

"They have a fresh set of eyes," Hartman said. "They really are the utmost professionals. We decided, 'Yeah, we're gonna take a chance.' Even a shot in the dark is a chance to bring some closure for this family. We were gonna do whatever we had to do that."

Hartman said a contract between the sheriff's office and the Cold Justice production company was signed.

"They came up here about 10 days before the arrest," he said. "Obviously, it worked out well for us. A lot better than we expected."

A few hours after Hartman's Lakeland Times interview Thursday morning, Hook sent out a press release to media outlets in the area.

"Oneida County Sheriff Grady Hartman and Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek would like to thank the Cold Justice Team for their assistance with the Robin Mendez case," Hook said in the press release. "Their assistance was significant in the compilation of the case for the district attorney."

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at bjopek@lakelandtimes.com.

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