FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The detective who helped put an international fugitive behind bars, is talking tonight about how he did it.
Mahfuz Huq stabbed a Steuben County man to death back in 1989. Monday, a judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison.
The man behind the killer’s capture shares his story on the cold case, more than 20 years in the making.
Kevin Smith became a detective with the Indiana State Police in 2005 and started working on this case soon after. He said he wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to find Huq, which is what he told the family of the victim, Todd Kelley. However, he knew he’d do his best, which turned out to be enough.
“I know you can’t find someone if you don”t look for them,” said Detective Kevin Smith.
That’s exactly what Detective Kevin Smith began doing.
He said homicide fugitive cold cases don’t come around often.
“I just thought it’d be interested to work on, I felt very bad for the family,” said Smith.
Smith familiarized himself with the case, collecting evidence to put himself back in time.
“It’s kind of hard to picture what happened if you weren’t there, if you pick the case up later.”
Once he knew it, he sent Huq’s photo to federal agents in the embassy of Dhaka, Bangladesh first in 2005, then in 2007.
“Same result, no luck.”
While continuing to firm up his investigation, he re-sent it in 2009.
Finally, someone at the embassy recognized Huq as a well-known teacher.
“In a unique way, his redemption of himself may have gotten him caught.”
Huq pleaded guilty last November.
Monday, friends and co-workers flew in to testify about Huq’s care for his students.
“If you commit a crime that’s serious enough, that there is no statue of limitations on it, the criminal justice system is still going to be punish you when you get back, no matter how long you run and hide.”
Finally, justice was served after nine years of investigating for Smith and 25 years of waiting for the Kelley family.
“With out this guy, there’s no way it would have happened,” said Vern Kelley, the victim’s father.
“We owed it to them, in all honesty, that’s my opinion about this, we owed it to them,” said Smith.
Smith said he’ll be shocked if this case isn’t one of the most unique he’ll ever work.
Right now, he has about 14 cold homicide cases in his office. Time can be an issue, since detectives are busy working on current cases. However, he said homicides deserve the most attention, since they’re the most serious.