A couple held captive by a murderous ex-police officer, and a tow truck driver who spotted the fugitive at a Corona gas station will split a $100,000 reward approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
A panel ruled that the trio played an instrumental role in the February manhunt for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who killed the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiancé, a Riverside police officer and a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detective during a rampage from Feb. 3 to 12.
Dorner is also responsible for paralyzing a Riverside police officer from the neck down, the board said.
Karen and Jim Reynolds will receive $80,000, and Daniel McGowan will receive $20,000 of the supervisors’ reward, to be paid from the board’s discretionary funds.
McGowan was driving to work along an unpaved fire road in Big Bear Lake on Feb. 7 when he came across Dorner’s burning truck. That discovery “gave law enforcement their first solid evidence” that Dorner was in the Big Bear Lake area, according to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
For his role, McGowan was also awarded 15 percent of a separate $1 million reward offered during the manhunt.
The Reynoldses were rewarded the bulk of that separate million-dollar reward, and on Tuesday were granted the majority of the supervisors' reward.
The couple was taken captive by Dorner in the hours leading up to Dorner’s death in a fiery shootout.
A former Navy reservist who served tours overseas, Dorner tied up the pair in their Big Bear cabin then stole their car. After being restrained for some 15 minutes, Karen Reynolds hopped to her cellphone and called 911. Agents found Dorner 30 minutes later.
Four parties filed failed claims for the supervisors' $100,000 reward, including a man who pointed officers in Dorner’s direction after witnessing a shootout in Big Bear, and a man who was carjacked by Dorner.
The carjack victim, Rick Heltebrake, also filed a claim for a separate $1 million reward but was denied.
That roughly $1 million reward pot was created by several Southern California agencies during the frantic manhunt.
In the months after Dorner’s death, two entities pulled their portion of that million-dollar reward.
The city of Riverside and the Peace Officers Research Association of California rejected paying their share of the reward, saying conditions were not met, namely that Dorner – who killed himself during the manhunt – be arrested and convicted for the killing spree.
The LA County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday recognized that the slain suspect’s conviction is impossible, before voting to approve its reward.
The 33-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 12 as officers surrounded the Big Bear-area cabin in which he was holed up, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The cabin then caught fire.
In an online manifesto, Dorner vowed violence against law enforcement agents and their families until his “name was cleared.” He was fired from the force in 2008, accused of falsely accusing a fellow officer of kicking a suspect.
An LAPD report in June ruled that Dorner was justifiably fired from the force.
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