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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

$15,000 reward offered in search for missing couple

$15,000 reward offered in search for missing couple
Authorities hope a reward ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 can help locate Russell and Rebecca Porter.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott announced the reward Monday during a news conference attended by nine of the rural Willard couple's relatives.

Arnott said investigators hope laboratory testing of genetic samples, provided by relatives and taken from evidence recovered at the couple's home on Route HH after their April 17 disappearance, will provide more leads on the case.

The investigation remains a missing persons case, Arnott said.

Arnott said the amount of a reward will vary, depending on the value of information obtained. Crime Stoppers and his department will evaluate the value of the information, he said.

People interested in contributing to the reward fund can donate at the Regions Bank at 2927 S. Campbell Ave.

People with tips can call Crime Stoppers at 869-TIPS or the sheriff's office at 868-4040.

During the news conference at the sheriff's office, Rebecca Porter's son said he remains optimistic his mother and stepfather will be found alive.

"I believe we're going to find them, safe and sound," Corey Ellsworth said.

Because the department also is working on the April 25 killings of Donald and Helen Willingham in their home just outside southwest Springfield, investigators have been meeting to prioritize what needs to be investigated in both cases, Arnott said.

Ellsworth and other relatives complimented the efforts of Arnott's department.

But Ellsworth said he is concerned about the public losing interest in the case the longer it continues unresolved.

"I know it's been two weeks, but don't let it go cold," Ellsworth said. "Keep it in your minds."

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