Given the frustration local police have experienced in the Essie McVey murder case, Crime Stoppers has at least offered an encouraging sign in he ongoing investigation.
After three weeks of exposure of the McVey case through Crime Stoppers materials, an undisclosed number of tips have been received but authorities are still waiting for a big breakthrough in the baffling case.
While the wide exposure offered by Crime Stoppers has produced some tips, it is difficult to gauge how important one piece of a puzzle might be until all the pieces are in place.
After all, that next email or telephone call might just make the difference, Central Indiana Crime Stoppers Coordinator Steve DuBois told the Banner Graphic this week.
Crime Stoppers doesn't like to discuss whether tips have come in or not on a particular case, DuBois said. He reasons that if numbers are disclosed and only one or two tips have materialized, it can raise the suspicions of those involved in the crime and possibly put the tipster in peril.
"In general terms, I'm happy with the response," DuBois said of the local case listed as No. 110904 on the Crime Stoppers website. "That's about all I can say in regard to any tips."
Greencastle detectives might have a different view of the helpfulness of any tips received, DuBois said, noting he has not talked directly to Det. Randy Seipel or anyone else involved with GPD since the McVey case became a Crime Stoppers item on Sept. 27.
"If you talk to the detectives, they may not see it the same way," DuBois, a former homicide investigator, added. "They might not think it's worth the paper it's written on."
Listening to Police Chief Tom Sutherlin at a recent public meeting, it would seem police would be happy for any help right now after more than six weeks of frustration.
"Our detectives have been working very hard on the case," Sutherlin told residents of the city's Third Ward, "but there's just not a lot of information out there."
That's where Crime Stoppers comes in.
The Essie McVey Crime Stoppers story has run on Indianapolis TV stations at least once since Sept. 27. Her murder also has been detailed in a Crime Stoppers public service announcement that has run in the Banner Graphic, Indianapolis Star and possibly elsewhere in print.
The case remains on the front page of the Central Indiana Crime Stoppers website (the sixth item down from the top).
The website is http://new.crimetips.org. Someone wanting to share information may also call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
"Somebody somewhere knows something," DuBois said, echoing the sentiments of local police since the Aug. 30 attack.
"Even the littlest piece of information can be important. It's amazing what can turn a case. Something small can end up being much more significant to a homicide detective.
"Tips are just lead information," he added. "It's still up to the detectives to put it all together."
Again, DeBois reiterated that he cannot speak in specific terms about the tips or other information his organization has received and passed along to City Police officials.
"But I'd be happy with a lot more," he summarized.