PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Westchester County officials hope to bring a nearly 20-year-old unsolved murder case back into the spotlight by upping the cash reward.
On Wednesday, Westchester County Crime Stoppers announced an additional $3,500 reward for any information on the death of Thomas Dorr.
The volunteer firefighter from Pleasantville was found dead inside Graham Hills Park in Mount Pleasant following a blizzard in January 1996, according to officials.
“Even though the case may appear to have been beaten down, the leads are cold, it doesn’t hurt to come back out and try one more time,” Derickson Lawrence, of Westchester Crime Stoppers, told 1010 WINS.
According to officials, Dorr went to the park with his wife and teenage stepson to feed wild turkeys on Jan. 7, 1996. Dorr’s wife and son said they went home before him, leaving Dorr alone in the woods. He never returned home, officials said.
The Pleasantville Fire Department launched a search the next day and found Dorr at the park dead in the snow in an apparent homicide, officials said.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a tree grows in Graham Hills Park, marking the time that has passed since the murder.
“We believe somebody out there knows something,” said Lawrence.
Dorr’s wife and son claimed he was the victim of a random attack, but police have another theory, Young reported.
“The stepson was addicted to heroin and at the time he asked for the car to go to buy drugs, and Mr. Dorr denied that,” said Lt. Jeff Hunt, with the Westchester County Police Department.
The random crime scenario never made sense to police. The family said Dorr was walking to the firehouse a half-mile in the snow, but his body was found in the other direction, up on a hill, Young reported.
Wife Jane Sawyer Dorr and her son immediately lawyered up and stopped cooperating with the investigation, and police said they found evidence the scene had been tampered with.
Authorities said they could charge the pair with evidence tampering, but that’s not what they want.
“With the misdemeanor, we’ve decided not to and build a better case for the homicide,” said Lt. Hunt. “(Young: You believe eventually you’ll have these two people in custody?) I do.”
Dorr worked side-by-side with Robert Allo for the city of White Plains as well as at the volunteer fire department in Pleasantville.
Allo said he considered Dorr to be a father figure, noting with irony that his actual family has shown little in the way of grief or curiosity about the crime.
“We’ve had vigils. They never showed up for vigils. Every year we meet on the anniversary of his death and they’re a no-show,” said Allo.
Jane Sawyer Dorr and her son have since moved to Litchfield County in Connecticut.
The new reward adds to the $2,500 reward already in place, making it a total of $6,000.
Officials are urging anyone with information on the case to contact Crime Stoppers on their website or by calling 1-800-898-8477.