A reward for information in the double murder of 33-year-old Kate Brown and 40-year-old Carnell Sledge has been increased to $100,000, eight months after the longtime friends were shot and killed in the Rocky River Reservation.
"We hope that this reward of $100,000 will give someone the courage and encourage them to come forward with that key piece of information," Kate's father Tom Brown said at a Wednesday press conference with the FBI.
The family collected $70,000 to add to the reward, Tom Brown said.
"We wake up every day not only ridden with grief but constantly questioning how and why two wonderful people had been gunned down," said Kate's sister, Alex Brown.
At a press conference nearly three weeks after the murders, Metroparks Chief Ranger Katherine Dolan said Kate Brown and Sledge arrived in separate cars to the Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, north of the Lorain Road Bridge, just after 5 p.m, on June 4, but it was unclear why they met at the park.
Asked in June if Brown and Sledge were targeted, FBI Special Agent Eric Smith, who leads the bureau’s Cleveland office, said investigators were exploring all avenues.
"I think we could also say that we have no reason to believe it was particularly random, either," Smith said. "This appears, again, to be somebody that did something in a very brazen way, in a very specific way."
It's not unusual for an investigation to take this long, Smith said on Wednesday.
"We routinely investigate cases over long periods of time, years in fact," Smith said. "So, we never forget and we'll continue to pursue this… as if the crime occurred yesterday. So, we take no different steps today than we did eight months ago."
Alex Brown described her sister Kate as the rock of their family.
"Going through the holidays was absolutely horrible, but she was just the best person," Brown said. "She was a lover of all things and she's so missed. It's horrible that we have to be here again."
Anyone with information can remain anonymous and should call:
- The Cleveland Metroparks Police dedicated tip-line at 440-331-5219;
- The FBI’s Cleveland office at 216-522-1400 option 0; or
- Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463.