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Spencer may offer reward in 2010 murder

SPENCER — Elected officials in Spencer may offer a reward in connection with the unsolved murder of a 20-year-old cashier who was shot and killed in 2010 just after hitting the panic button during a morning shift at Latin Mix.
Deyanira “Dee” Rios de la Cruz died Nov. 13, 2010. The gunman took off with about $11. There have been no arrests in the case.
The idea of a cash reward came up during a budget workshop. Spencer Police Chief Michael James on Tuesday told the Board of Aldermen he supports the suggestion.
“We continue to work on that case,” James said. “I hope there will be an arrest made one day before I go back into retirement and leave this position.”
Aldermen did not discuss how much money they would allocate for a reward. The new fiscal year starts July 1.
While the idea “speaks very highly of you gentlemen,” James warned that some people will try to lie to get the reward and suggested careful consideration of the wording, whether the reward would be paid based on information that leads to an arrest or a conviction. Arresting someone is easier than winning a conviction, James said.
“When people see money, sometimes they come forward with information that is not true and accurate to try to get reward money,” he said.
The reward would send a message that the town will not tolerate such crimes, James said. Alderman Scott Benfield said it also would show people that the town has not forgotten Rios de la Cruz.
Anyone with information about the murder is urged to contact the Spencer Police Department at 704-633-3574 or Salisbury-Rowan Crimestoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
In other police news, James said former Spencer Police Officer Robert Clement, who was killed in the line of duty June 3, 1999, would be remembered today at the Annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service.
James also pointed out a new line item in his monthly activity report. Police officers now log “park checks” every time they patrol Spencer’s parks and recreation facilities. Officers made 198 park checks in April.
James said officers were already checking the parks, but now the visits are listed separately for easier tracking.
“That is a priority for us,” he said.
Alderman Reid Walters asked if all Spencer police officers have walked the trails in Spencer Woods to become familiar with the town’s newest park. James said he had not directed his officers to walk the trails but thought it was a good idea.
James also said Officer James Cayer has resigned to return to a previous job but will continue serving the town as a reserve officer.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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