As proven this week, cold cases can be closed.

An arrest four and a half years after the murder of Paula Gallant gives hope to families waiting for closure of their own.

Al and Carolyn MacCullough’s son Jason was 19 when he was shot in the back of the head from point-blank range.

Jason was walking home, using a well-known shortcut on Pinecrest Drive in Dartmouth, at 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 28, 1999.

Al said Thursday it was “good to see” police track down a suspect in the Gallant case.

Carolyn added that it gave them “a little boost” to know there was an arrest in one of the cold cases.

“It gives us hope that they’re not ignoring them,” she said. “We are still behind the cops and we know they’re doing what they can, we just wish they’d work a little faster.”

In a press conference this week, Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley said the community and Gallant’s family played a significant role in keeping the case in the public eye and encouraging people to come forward with information.

The Gallants are not alone in this effort: every year the McCulloughs participate in a march against violence in Dartmouth.

The families of Jonathan Reader, who was murdered in 2005 in Clayton Park, and Tanya Brooks, who was killed in 2009 in Halifax, hold similar awareness events.

Carolyn said they’re not going anywhere, and will keep waiting for new insights into their son’s case until the very end.

Cold case unit
• A case is moved to the cold case unit when every investigative avenue is exhausted, said Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter.

• “But ... when a piece of information is received, that information is acted on and it can change the status of a file,” he said.

• Homicide files are never closed unless a charge is laid, he added.

• “We’re always encouraging people to come forward because it may be that one piece of information we need to actively start investigating again and perhaps the piece we need to make an arrest.”