By Hannah Heimbuch
Last week, Homer Police upped a Crime Stoppers reward from $2,000 to $10,000 for anyone with information that results in an arrest and conviction for the July murder of Mark Matthews, 61.
Matthews was found alongside the Poopdeck Trail on July 28, and his death was deemed a homicide in August.
Police are continuing to gather and sort through a growing mountain of evidence regarding the death, said Homer Police Detective Lary Kuhns, and the department is hoping this increased incentive will result in new information that will push their investigation to the next step.
“I think we’re a lot farther along,” said Kuhns, “(compared to) where we were in the week after it happened.”
Crime Stoppers is an organization that collects and offers rewards for information that leads to solving and preventing crimes. Tips that came through the hotline have already served the investigation well, Kuhns said.
“We have gotten multiple Crime Stoppers tips from a variety of places around Alaska,” he said. “They have been very helpful and useful.”
One of the reasons information has come in from across the state, Kuhns said, is that the homicide took place during a time when a lot of nonresidents were in Homer for summertime work or fun.
Police have been working with other state and federal agencies to process evidence and put together the results, Kuhns said.
“We’ve been sending things to the crime lab for analysis,” Kuhns said, “working back and forth with the medical examiner and the crime lab on multiple pieces of evidence.”
Law enforcement collaborations also included a briefing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation early on in the case, and work with the Alaska Search and Rescue K-9 unit in the days following discovery of the body.
Anyone with information regarding the July 28 events surrounding Matthews’ death can call Peninsula Crime Stoppers at (800) 478-4258. Callers can remain anonymous, said Kuhns, and any little bit of information can be useful.
Crime Stoppers puts up the first $1,000 of any reward, while the remainder comes from the local entity working the case. In this case, that’s the City of Homer. This appropriation will be put before the Homer City Council at their Jan. 13 meeting.
“It hopefully gets someone compelled,” Kuhns said. “(They) may know that one piece of information. There may not be a whole lot to them, but it may be the one thing to lead us to that arrest.”
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