Reward grows to $10,000 in Austgen slaying

2013-04-22T14:17:00Z 2014-04-16T21:24:16Z Reward grows to $10,000 in Austgen slayingTimes Staff nwitimes.com
April 22, 2013 2:17 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The son of a homicide victim made an emotional plea Monday for the public to provide more information about the kidnapping and slaying of his mother.

"Someone out there knows who did this," Jeff Austgen said in a news conference at the Griffith Police Department.

A reward for information into the homicide of Mary Austgen, 76, of St. John, was increased to $10,000 on Monday.

Evidence shows she was attacked and kidnapped at gunpoint March 28 from her family business, 801 E. Main St. in Griffith, police said. Further evidence revealed that two rings she was wearing were probably taken during the abduction, said Griffith police Detective Lt. Matt Argadine.

Those are the only items believed to have been taken from Austgen during the incident, Argadine said.

Her body was discovered at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, where she was found to have been fatally shot in the abdomen, police said.

The FBI, the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Griffith and Gary investigators in the case, Argadine said.

He said dozens of tips have been received in about the case, and those agencies will "help us deal with everything that's coming in."

Police said a man seen on video leaving with Mary Austgen from her Griffith business March 28 matches a man seen later that day on casino video surveillance inside the parking garage.

The man is seen entering the casino via the parking garage and leaving through the front valet parking area. The man entered a black four-door vehicle that left the scene about 6:45 p.m. March 28, police said.

Police are trying to identify the man and a person of interest driving the black vehicle.

Argadine said police know of no enemies Mary Austgen had, but "we're looking at everybody."

Jeff Austgen described his mother as a selfless, compassionate and loving person.

"She was full of life," he said.

Jeff Austgen said people shouldn't be fearful to provide investigators with information they have about the incident.

"With your help, we can find answers," he said.

Police said the ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible. Another $5,000 was donated by private individuals to raise the total amount of reward to $10,000.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Griffith Police Department, (219) 924-3141, or the department's anonymous tip line at (219) 922-3085.

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