Number of unsolved homicides spikes in Orange County

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The number of homicide cases in Orange County has hit 26 so far in 2014 and many of those cases remain unsolved.

Those unsolved cases have left several families frustrated, but investigators said they're constantly working to make an arrest.

"They need to work harder and dig deeper," said Lillian Rao, sister-in-law of homicide victim Anthony Jones.

Jones was the county's 24th homicide victim this year and Rao said she's devastated his killer hasn't been caught.

"He needs to be taken off the street," Rao said.

Channel 9 learned that of the 26 Orange County homicides, 16 of them are unsolved. It's a statistic that's much higher than Orlando's, which has one unsolved murder, and Hillsborough County, which currently has five 2014 unsolved homicides.

The numbers surprised law enforcement expert Chuck Drago.

"Typically homicide is the most solvable crime for police departments," Drago said.

Drago said that's because victims are frequently killed by someone they know.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Orange County Sheriff's Office about the current number of unsolved cases.

"Yep, we're comfortable with the number," said Sgt. Mike Ruggiero with the Sheriff's Office.

Ruggiero said the unsolved cases are in various stages of investigation with arrests close. He stressed that detectives don't stop working on cold cases and that lack of witness cooperation can sometimes hurt their efforts.

"We will spare no expense or time in order to make a case," Ruggiero said.