In hopes of solving what is now the month-old murder case of 85-year-old Essie McVey, investigators have enlisted the help of Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.
"We have reached out to Crime Stoppers," Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin confirmed Thursday, quickly adding however that GPD is still the lead investigator on the case.
Chief Sutherlin said the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office, Indiana State Police and GPD Det. Randy Seipel had a meeting earlier this week and "decided Crime Stoppers might be a good thing for the case."
It has now been 30 days since a home health care worker walked into Mrs. McVey's Autumn Glen Village condominium on Greencastle's northeast side to find her near-lifeless body on the floor of the living room. She died two days later at Methodist Hospital from a gunshot wound to the head.
Since then, little, if anything, has changed among the elements of the case. The timeline is still 8:30-10 a.m. Aug. 30. No visible signs of forced entry. Robbery has been ruled out as the motive.
Why then, both police and public have been unable to comprehend, would anyone want to kill a nice, elderly woman in her own home in the middle of a quiet Greencastle neighborhood in broad daylight?
And how could they possibly have gone undetected under such a scenario?
"This has been a very frustrating case," Sutherlin assured. "It is very frustrating for our detectives. There's just not a lot to go on at this time."
Despite it now being a month since the crime and the initial spate of publicity surrounding it, Chief Sutherlin said no new information has materialized. He's not aware of any new leads and there is no apparent connection with any remotely similar crimes in the surrounding cites and counties.
All signs point to it being a random act of violence. But why?
"From all appearances," Sutherlin said, "noting was really touched inside."
Likewise, a total lack of evidence and information has stymied investigators in creating any kind of suspect profile.
Regardless, the chief said he wants the public to know his department is continuing "to investigate the case non-stop, and if any leads come in, we'll be investigating them to the fullest."
Which is why the Crime Stoppers effort might be helpful.
"By putting it out there, we hope it gets people thinking and maybe they'll remember something," the chief said. "It might spur their interest to where they might say, 'I do recall seeing something suspicious that morning.'
"If anyone has any information, please call," Sutherlin urged.
The tip line number is 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or 317-262-8477.
The case is being featured on WXIN, Fox 59, Indianapolis, and in a public service ad in the Indianapolis Star, Central Indiana Crime Stoppers coordinator Steve DuBois told the Banner Graphic.
The McVey case will also be featured on the Crime Stoppers Facebook page, as well as on its website and its monthly poster.
"We want to keep the information out there," DuBois said. "We hope to give someone who previously has been hesitant to come forward a chance to do so and remain anonymous."
Crime Stoppers also offers a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to a felony arrest in the case.
"Unfortunately," DuBois said, "a certain segment of our population is motivated by reward."
And that's why the reward is relatively low at $1,000.
"It's not enough really for someone to fabricate a story," DuBois said, meaning the risk of prison time isn't worth the $1,000 reward.
Essentially, detectives need a place to start, DuBois said, and hopefully a Crime Stoppers tip just might provide that impetus. It just takes one tip.
"We hope to be able to take that tip to the detectives and let them build a case and go from there," the Crime Stoppers official said.
Anyone who may have information about anything unusual they might have seen or heard in the Autumn Glen Village Condos area the morning of Aug. 30 is asked to call Crime Stoppers or contact GPD at 848-1539 or 848-1561.