Friday, June 10, 2005

Reward set in death case

The family of a Pulaski woman whose January death police are investigating as a homicide is offering an unspecified amount of money for information that leads to an arrest in her death.

Mindy Damron Dickerson, 26, died Jan. 27 in the home she shared with her husband and young child.

Drema Patton, Dickerson's mother, said her daughter was found in her bed after a night when her husband was away on business near Richmond.

A preliminary autopsy could not find a cause of death, but Patton said she not only believes her daughter was murdered she also thinks she knows who did it.

That Dickerson's death is being investigated by police as a homicide was revealed for the first time on Wednesday -- more than four months after her death -- when the family posted the reward in the classified section of The Roanoke Times.

Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche said police did not inform the public in order to "protect the case." He said it is common for the department to keep such information quiet to protect confidential sources and investigation techniques.

He said there are no other murders investigations pending that the public does not know about.

Roche said police learned that Dickerson's family took out an ad in the newspaper after it was published and did not participate in the decision to make the homicide investigation public.

Patton would not disclose the amount of the reward but said "if the information got someone arrested, it would be a substantial amount."

Roche is not releasing any other information about the investigation. He refused to say if there are any suspects in Dickerson's death.

"I don't use that 'person of interest' phrase," he said. "If something happens that we can release, we will release it forthwith," he said.

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