YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There is a renewed search for justice for the family of Det. Dennis Wustenhoff.
The FBI is taking a fresh look at the case, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.
They were children at the time but said they will never forget the day they lost their father, and Suffolk County lost a cop. Wustenhoff bled to death hours after someone blew up his unmarked car in front of their Patchogue home.
“He was a cop to the community, but to us, he was just such an involved dad,” daughter Melissa Scelsi said. “My whole world just collapsed.”
“I felt a lot of fear coupled with my sadness. He was targeted in front of my house,” daughter Jennifer Lees added.
“Being afraid lasted for a long time,” brother Kevin Wustenhoff added.
Det. Wustenhoff’s funeral was 30 years ago this week. Police at the time described his death as an assassination, possibly linked to his work as an undercover narcotics detective.
His murder was never solved, but now Suffolk Police are honoring his memory anew, announcing the FBI will take a new look at all evidence in the cold case.
“With changes in technology, as well as best practices, we feel it’s a good idea for another agency to take a look at it,” Suffolk Police Chief of Detectives Gerard Gigante said.
The Wustenhoff children, who have launched a Facebook page seeking tips, believe it’s never too late for justice.
“Why is it that a police officer is murdered on their front lawn and it goes unsolved?” Scelsi said.
“We are a lot frustrated. We are a lot angry, actually. I feel like 30 years is way too long for it to go unsolved,” Lees added.
Soon after the murder, another police officer with bomb-making no-how was identified as a person of interest, amid reports that Dennis Wustenhoff had an affair with the man’s wife, but no arrest was ever made.
“It is true. My father did have an affair,” Lees said.
But they do not want that affair to define him. Suffolk detectives said while his drug cases were all reviewed and nothing points to a work-related hit, there has been nothing to eliminate the love triangle theory.
Son Kevin, who is now also a cop and wears his father’s shield, said he is hoping someone with information will finally answer their conscience.
“Look at my family. We need this,” Kevin Wustenhoff said.
Police are also now offering a $10,000 fast cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. The police commissioner said the Wustenhoff family and law enforcement colleagues deserve justice.
Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip by calling Suffolk Police at 800-220-TIPS.
Dennis Wustenhoff was a highly decorated police veteran and also served in the Army in Vietnam.