Rewards increase in teen's death
Detroit — Authorities on Friday announced a $50,000 increase to the rewards offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman responsible in the death of a Grosse Pointe Farms teenager last month.
Crime Stoppers earlier offered a reward of $12,500 in the shooting death of 16-year-old Paige Stalker, which was later upped by another $100,000 by the Detroit Crime Commission, which said the money is coming from anonymous private donors. With Friday's addition, rewards now total $162,500.
Police Chief James Craig and Andy Arena, executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission, announced the additional reward at a press conference at police headquarters on Friday.
"It is our hope that the overwhelming generosity of these private donors will spawn an outpouring of support that aid in bringing the person(s) responsible for this heinous crime to justice, and provide closure to a grieving family," Arena said.
Due to the amount of the money offered in the reward, all tipsters are required to leave their name and contact information in order to obtain the rewards.
"We have no idea who is donating the money but thank you, thank you," said Paige Stalker's grandfather, Dave Lawrence. "Crime Stoppers is doing a great job for Paige and other victims of crime.
"In some ways, it's a shame that people have to be paid to do the right thing, but sometimes that's the way it is. We need people to speak up about this and other cases. I tell people if we don't have a safe Detroit, we won't have a safe suburbs and vice versa."
Paige's mother, Jennifer Stalker, spoke briefly and movingly about her daughter's death.
"We recently had a beautiful birthday party for her," Stalker said. "For my family and friends, I want to say thank you for the outpouring of love and support. This money is going to help Paige, and all the other children, to help get this person off the street."
Stalker, an honor student at University Liggett School, was sitting in a car parked near Charlevoix and Philip on Dec. 22, when she and four other teens were attacked by a gunman.
The suspect — who first exited a tan or beige Cadillac — sprayed their car with at least 26 bullets, hitting Stalker in the head and wounding three other teenagers. The fifth teen escaped injury.
The teens rushed to the Grosse Pointe campus of Beaumont Hospital where Stalker was dead on arrival. The other shooting victims were treated and released.
"At this, we're looking at the robbery motive as the primary factory," Craig said. "Could have been a carjacking, but car jacking is robbery."
Police have devoted hundreds of hours to the case and are hoping an increase in the reward will induce someone to tell what they know about the killing.
Craig dismissed any accusations that the Stalker killing is getting extra attention from his department.
"Any suggestion out there that we're working this case harder than others is false," Craig said. "There is no favoritism in this or any other case. We expect our investigators to stay connected with the families. We meet with families of the victims to update and discuss the case ... to let them know that no one has been forgotten."
Craig said the department had received a number of tips in the case.
"I won't go into the number of tips, but we are working a number of leads," Craig said. "We are working very hard to bring justice to those responsible for the death of this young woman.
"The unwavering support of the community at large has been and continues to be invaluable, as is relentless dedication of our investigative team."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Detroit Police Department at (313) 596-2663 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) 773-2587.