Investigators on Wednesday spent hours chasing new tips in the hopes that one would lead to the capture of a man who robbed and murdered a cab driver two weekends ago.
A news conference called by Medford police on Tuesday stirred up 20 tips from the public. The leads were pursued throughout the day, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.
"These tips are keeping us busy, which we like," Budreau said. "There is so much work left to do on this case."
Detectives spoke with several people shown in a surveillance video taken outside Howiee's on Front on Oct. 20. They were outside the downtown Medford bar at about the time William "Huey" Huson picked up the man who police believe later shot him and took cash from his cab.
Budreau was tight-lipped on whether the people provided valuable information in the case.
Huson's cab company lost radio contact with him after he picked up a fare near the downtown bar and reported him missing at 1:02 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 21. Huson's cab was located at Ninth and Almond streets four hours later.
Huson's body was found in a field off Helo Way near Vilas Road. He had been shot in the head.
Police still believe there were more witnesses at several nearby restaurants and bars in the vicinity of North Front Street who may have seen something on that Saturday evening.
Investigators also combed the bike path near Ninth and Almond streets. Medford officers, along with county search-and-rescue volunteers, walked the bike path hoping to find clues left behind by the killer, Budreau said.
"We searched the bike path in case the suspect used it to get away from the scene after abandoning the cab," Budreau said.
In addition, a $1,500 reward is being offered for information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect, Budreau said.
The reward money is a combination of Crimestoppers and an anonymous donor.
"For some people a reward might be all they need to come forward with information that could help," Budreau said.
Budreau said cab drivers usually don't keep a lot of cash on hand, as most companies now accept debit and credit cards.
"This man lost his life for not a lot of money," Budreau said. "That's something we struggle with when trying to make sense of these tragedies. You can't put a monetary value on a human life."
One witness near Howiee's had seen a possible suspect in the murder, describing him as a white male with a fair complexion and a pockmarked face, 25 to 35 years old, about 6 feet 1 or 2 inches tall and weighing 170 to 190 pounds. (Correction: The possible suspect's height has been corrected in this story.)
Medford police Chief Tim George said the public should not be tied to the single description. Detectives are open to all possibilities and any information should be shared with police, George said.
Because Huson was killed in the commission of a robbery, the suspect would likely face an aggravated murder charge.
Aggravated murder is the most serious of Oregon's violent crimes and could lead to a death penalty or a life sentence upon conviction.
Tips on the case can still be submitted, either by calling 541-770-4783 or online at www.tipsubmit.com.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.