Missouri Highway Patrol Lt. Jim McNiell said he still hopes to learn who killed Claude DeLaney Minner on Dec. 3, 2003. The enticement of a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the driver of the vehicle that ran over Minner could bring a witness forward, he said.
McNiell will spend Monday posting fliers throughout the area announcing the reward provided through the New Madrid County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund Committee. The $1,000 will be paid to the individual providing the information which leads to the arrest of the person responsible for Minner's death.
This is the first time in his 28 years as a highway patrol officer that a reward has been offered in an effort to solve a hit-and-run case, McNiell said.
"We are trying to expend every effort to solve this," he said. "We still feel like it is a local person who ran over him and we hope the reward will help entice someone who knows something to come forward."
The accident occurred at 5 p.m. Dec. 3, 2003, at Route U at New Madrid's city limits. Minner was riding a bicycle and although some daylight remained, the Patrol's report notes the weather was rainy and foggy.
Minner's bicycle was struck in the rear by an eastbound vehicle. The force of the blow threw Minner onto the hood of the car, where he remained briefly before sliding off into the center of the road. The car's driver stopped following the accident.
A second motorist swerved to avoid striking the man, who was now lying across the roadway. The woman driver, a nurse, turned her car around, hoping to be able to aid Minner.
She later told officers she saw a black extended-cab truck approaching the man and despite her efforts to alert the driver to the situation she watched the vehicle run over Minner. The witness said the driver, a young white male wearing a baseball cap, left the scene.
An autopsy indicated the fatal injuries to Minner were caused by the second vehicle to strike Minner, the extended-cab truck.
"We have very few leaving-the-scene accidents we don't solve but there are some," said McNiell. In this case, he explained, there was no evidence left at the scene; Minner was killed by the wheels running over him.
Now, the officer said, he hopes someone will step forward who knows about the crime. "We hope the individual talked to someone - maybe their conscious is bothering them," said McNiell, who added the Patrol has worked long hours in an attempt to solve the case. "I live with it every day - thinking what I can do to get someone to cooperate. . . . We owe it to the family to try to get some kind of conclusion."
Jason Ward with the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department is working with McNiell to get the word out. This is the second time, he said, officers have gone around with fliers in hopes of bringing witnesses forward, although it is the first time to offer a reward.
Pointing out he realizes Minner's death was not an intentional act by the truck's driver, the officer said the crime is leaving the scene of the accident. And like McNiell, Ward said, solving the case will give the family some closure.
Hopefully, McNiell continued, the reward will bring someone forward with the information. "We have never forgotten Delaney Minner," he said. "This case will stay open until we get it solved."
Those who have information about the crime can contact McNiell at the Troop E substation in Sikeston at 472-5200, extension 2221 or Ward at the New Madrid County Sheriff's office at 748-2516.