09/01/11 — Reward offered to locate suitcase, photos

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Reward offered to locate suitcase, photos

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 1, 2011 1:46 PM

The search continues for a black rolling suitcase containing photos of a Jacksonville widow's husband who was killed while in Iraq several years ago.

Last weekend's hurricane delayed things a bit, Lindsay Whitehouse said, but she is still not quite ready to give up. And now an unnamed organization has stepped forward and offered a $500 reward if the Hispanic couple believed to have purchased it at a yard sale is found.

Mrs. Whitehouse said Wednesday she is still trying to locate the couple, originally believed to be from Mount Olive, who purchased several items from her neighborhood yard sale Aug. 6. During the flurry of activity that day, Mrs. Whitehouse said she failed to clean out the irreplaceable photos and awards belonging to her late husband, Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Whitehouse, who has 27 when he was killed in 2006 while deployed in Iraq.

She subsequently made two trips to Mount Olive hoping to find the suitcase at the flea market there or possibly locate the couple's vehicle -- described as a dark red or burgundy full-size Dodge pickup truck.

Since news of her plight went public, Mrs. Whitehouse said she has received several calls with leads about the couple. One Hispanic woman, she said, told her the couple live in the Dudley area and frequent flea markets in Fuquay-Varina.

"Because of the hurricane, obviously I was unable to make it out there," Mrs. Whitehouse said. "We had to evacuate because of the storm, and flea markets weren't open."

Now that things have settled down in the aftermath, she said she will likely head to Fuquay-Varina this weekend.

Also, on Wednesday, the News-Argus was contacted by Butterball of Mount Olive, which employs a large number of Hispanic workers. Officials there offered to help spread the word in hopes that the local couple may be found and asked about the contents of the suitcase.

While Mrs. Whitehouse remains resolute about wanting answers -- even if it's just to find out the suitcase has already been emptied or sold -- discouragement has admittedly begun to set in.

"I'm on my last leg of hope," she said. "As bad as it sounds, sometimes money does talk to people. I hope (the reward) will help, and whomever this couple was will come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Mrs. Whitehouse at 910-546-1307 or e-mail onesocks26@ yahoo.com