Mohave Silent Witness short on funds for rewards

Silent Witness looking for donations to fund program

KINGMAN - Mohave Silent Witness picks up where the trail leads cold. Since 1996, the non-profit organization has assisted authorities in funding rewards in exchange for information on crimes where there is little for police to work with.

In the last 17 years, Silent Witness has handed out $36,000 in rewards. The group is now asking for the help of the community, particularly businesses, to provide donations to ensure that the reward fund stays in the black.

"Our business community is an important asset to Silent Witness, as there are businesses and individuals that donate annually to our program. Without their generosity we would not exist," said Shirley Mathe, president of Silent Witness.

She said everyone has a vested interest in keeping the community free of crime and holding those who commit crime accountable.

"Whether there is a reward or not, by calling in a crime you make your neighborhood safer," she said.

Silent Witness works with deputies and officers from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Kingman Police Department, Bullhead City Police Department and Arizona Game and Fish. Game and Fish frequently contacts the group to help flush out information where little is available, as in cases of poaching where a suspect may be bragging about his act. There is currently an open reward available for the case of mule deer fawn illegally killed in Hualapai Mountain Park recently.

Rewards are also offered on much more serious crimes, such as the Bullhead City murder of Raymond Sanchez, stabbed to death and wrapped in plastic and dumped at Colorado River Nature Center last August.

Most rewards average between $500 and $2,000, but oftentimes, it's enough to shake loose a tip that eventually leads to an arrest.

Silent Witness can be reached by calling (928) 753-1234 or 1-888-227-8780. These lines do not have caller ID so all calls are anonymous, though callers can leave their contact information for the rewards.

The two-dozen volunteers for Silent Witness meet monthly. Meetings are open to the public and are held at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at the Kingman Police Department, 2730 East Andy Devine Avenue. To contact Mathe, call (928) 692-6140.