Florida investigators hoping to solve a 27-year-old cold case in which a teen student was “abducted, shot and killed” after stepping off her school bus are now offering a $50,000 reward for information.
Laralee Spear was 15 when she was found dead about a quarter-mile from her family’s home near DeLand in April 1994, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Their reward, announced Sunday on the anniversary of her death, is seeking tips leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
“It still hurts. Every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her,” Ginny Bussell, Laralee’s younger sister, said in a video released by police to generate new interest in the case.
“I always wonder what she would think of Christmas, or Thanksgiving, her birthday. I always wonder where she will be at if things were different, if somebody had just left her alone that day and let her live,” Bussell added. “What life would be like with her here – I’m sure it would have been a lot happier.”
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said “Laralee was abducted, shot and killed on the afternoon of April 25, 1994, near a burned-down house about a quarter-mile away from her family’s home on Deerfoot Road outside DeLand.
“It’s believed her killer took her shortly after she got off the bus around 3:15 p.m. at her stop at Deerfoot Road and Spring Garden Avenue,” the statement continues. “Expecting her home as usual, Laralee’s worried mother called 911 to report her missing around 4:05 p.m. Deputies were on scene in minutes, and an Air One pilot spotted her body near the abandoned structure around 5:35 p.m.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and its major case unit recently met with the FBI to discuss how new technology and techniques could lead to a break in the unsolved case, the statement added.
“I think for generations of deputies in the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office – everybody wants to see this case closed,” Chitwood says in the video.
Bussell says she “can only beg – and I hate to say that.
“But if you know something, please just come forward, just tell something even if you think it’s the most useless piece of information, just speak up,” she added. “One little thing can make a world of difference, can bring peace to Laralee, can bring us hope and closure.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.