03/25/08 — Reward increased in Fremont area murder

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Reward increased in Fremont area murder

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 25, 2008 1:59 PM

FREMONT -- The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has leads and a "person of interest" in a Black Creek Road murder, but still needs help piecing the case together.

And an anonymous donor hopes an extra $5,000 may help uncover information police need to solve the March 3 murder of Silvia Benitez Morales, authorities said.

Capt. Tom Effler said he fielded the call from the concerned citizen who wished to remain anonymous with his donation.

"I think, honestly, these are just conscientious people," Effler said. "The person called and told me he was concerned about it, and offered $5,000."

The total reward for information leading to the arrest of Morales' suspected killer is up to $11,000 in addition to what the Crime Stoppers organization pays for such information.

Effler said it was the first time he has fielded such a donation, and he hopes the money may entice more people to come forward.

The Sheriff's Office said people sometimes shy away from offering information because they believe it is too trivial.

Effler said investigators want every detail.

"Sometimes a citizen might not know he or she saw something important to the case," Effler said in a release.

"If anyone saw (anyone or anything) they believe might be out of the ordinary or pertinent to this case ... (they) are asked to call."

The Sheriff's Office believes Mrs. Morales was killed between 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. at her Black Creek Road home on March 3.

Her 3-year-old son was at home at the time of the murder, and Mrs. Morales' daughter discovered her mother and phoned her father, who was reportedly at work, authorities said.

Anyone with any information that might be pertinent to the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 731-1481 or Crime Stoppers at 735-2255.