Reward money increases in 1985 cold case

Victim in a 1985 Cold Case in Lecanto

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s (CCSO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and Crime Stoppers of Citrus County, Inc. as part of an initiative to enhance reward money for information leading to the identity of the perpetrator(s) responsible for the June 1985 homicide of an unidentified male in Lecanto.

“We are extremely proud to work with the Florida Sheriffs Association and Crime Stoppers of Citrus County,” Sheriff Prendergast said.

“Through FSA’s Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program (CAPP), we will be able to shine a new light on our Fire on the Roadside’ case to hopefully generate new leads and bring closure to this mystery.

We thank Matt Dunagan, Deputy Executive Director of FSA and Heather Ramos, Law Enforcement Coordinator for Crime Stoppers of Citrus for making this possible.”

When a crime occurs, deputies and detectives immediately set out to solve the case and catch the perpetrator(s). Some cases can be solved right away, while others may take weeks or even years. Then, there are those cases that go decades without being solved, like the CCSO’s Fire on the Roadside’ case.

Fire on the Roadside’ is a Citrus County cold case about the unidentified remains of an adult male found burning along CR 490 in Lecanto during the early morning hours on June 21, 1985. Through forensic evidence, the victim is believed to be a white male, approximately 55-65 years of age, 5’6″ tall, weighing 134 pounds with blue eyes and grey hair.

To attract potential witnesses to help solve our Fire on the Roadside’ case, the Florida Sheriffs Association’ (FSA) and Crime Stoppers of Citrus County have teamed up to increase the reward for information. The Florida Sheriffs Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program has generously offered $5,000 as a reward enhancement, with Crime Stoppers remitting $3,000 in reward funds, making a combined total reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to the identity of the perpetrator(s) responsible for this homicide.

“This reward is currently the highest reward that has been offered by our program in the 10 years our program has existed,” Debbie Groff, President of Crime Stoppers of Citrus County said. The amount of this reward is a reflection of the necessity and passion that we have in solving these crimes.

“What is most important to us is to help law enforcement bring justice to the victims and family. We are hoping that by partnering with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Sheriff’s Association to increase this reward, that someone will take the step forward to bring information for closure to this horrific case.”

If you would like to remain anonymous with your tip, you can contact Citrus County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-ANY-TIPS to be eligible for this huge reward!

In addition, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s post-mortem reconstruction team created an accurate depiction of the unidentified victim in this case. Anyone who recognizes this victim can contact Major Crime’s Detective Holloway at (352) 249-2731 and via email at cholloway@sheriffcitrus.org, or make an anonymous tip to Citrus County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-ANY-TIPS. You may also contact our Non-Emergency Line at (352)726-1121 to provide information regarding this cold case.

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