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Reward offered in unsolved Greenway killing

CENTRAL POINT — Police hope a $5,000 reward will help them solve the murder of a 44-year-old man found dead inside his sleeping bag along the Bear Creek Greenway late last summer.

Jackson County sheriff's detectives have hit a wall in their investigation into the death of Troy Dean Carney, whose body was found Sept. 4 hidden in brush between the Central Point freeway interchange and Table Rock Road.

When officials from the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation contacted the department offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, sheriff's detectives were happy to cooperate.

"We certainly do appreciate the assistance and hope the money inspires someone to come forward," Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan said.

Money provided by the foundation has helped police across the country solve tough cases over the years.

According to the foundation's Web site, rewards offered by the fund have been instrumental in locating nine missing persons, the arrest of 37 murder suspects, three kidnappers and one person charged with the murder of a police officer.

The foundation has paid $272,600 in rewards to people who have dropped tips to police to close those cases.

The origins of the Sund/Carrington foundation date to 1999, when Carole Sund, Juli Sund and Silvia Pelosso disappeared while hiking in Yosemite National Park. They later were found murdered in the park.

A reward posted by Carole Sund's parents, Francis and Carole Carrington, led to a break in the case.

Their belief in the value of cash rewards inspired the Carringtons to create the fund to help police officers crack homicide and missing person cases.

The Carney murder has sent detectives deep into the world of homeless people who live in temporary camps along the Bear Creek Greenway. Such people rarely stay in one place for any length of time, so pinning down a suspect has been difficult, Fagan said.

"We have spoken with several people who were camped near the spot where Mr. Carney was found and have not come away with a suspect," Fagan said.

Police have not released details of the manner in which Carney was killed.

At the time of Carney's death, four camps were hidden in the blackberry bushes not far from the Pilot truck stop in Phoenix. Carney frequented the truck stop in the weeks before his death, often eating and taking showers there.

Detectives found a mask of the Marvel Comics character Wolverine in one of the campsites. They managed to track down the owner of the mask and determined he had nothing to do with Carney's death, Fagan said.

Carney had lived in the Rogue Valley years ago, but during the past decade had traveled the country with truckers. He worked as a "lumper," loading and unloading trucks and riding along with the drivers, Fagan said.

"There is a possibility someone who he had contact with at the Pilot truck stop might have had a hand in Mr. Carney's death," Fagan said.

On Sept. 14, someone set a fire that burned the empty camp sites. Fagan believes the fire was intentionally set by the killer to cover up evidence and keep detectives away.

All detectives can do now is wait for someone with insight into Carney's last days to contact them with information that could turn up a suspect, Fagan said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconad@mailtribune.com.