Reward grows in unsolved killing

Monday, December 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CLEVELAND, Okla. (AP) _ The reward for the arrest of a sheriff's killer has grown after two of the victim's uncles added to the fund.

Rewards in the investigation of Pawnee County Sheriff Dwight Woodrell Jr.'s death now total more than $27,000.

``We're hoping that money will loosen someone's tongue,'' said Darrel Woodrell, one of the late sheriff's uncles. ``If we just get one good break, maybe it will shake things loose.''

Someone fatally wounded Dwight Woodrell, 36, on Oct. 13 as he patrolled a Cleveland drilling company's yard. Thieves had targeted the business earlier.

Just before 3 a.m., the sheriff told dispatchers he was talking to a man named Robert Weller and asked for backup.

When deputies arrived, they saw a pickup truck driving away, then found Woodrell shot in his patrol car. The father of four later died at a local hospital.

Officers remain unsure of the color of the pickup that left the scene, or even if it is connected to the crime.

Robert Weller, the name Woodrell gave dispatchers , is either an alias or a case of mistaken identity. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has also said its investigators will be lucky if slugs from the killer's gun match any of their ballistic records.

Since then, investigators have questioned dozens of people arrested on unrelated charges. They've also combed Pawnee County bars, asking for information.

Officers even went to Maryland to question two people with outstanding stolen property warrants. In all, officers say they have pursued more than 100 dead-end leads.

As far as the sheriff's survivors know, the assailant could still be walking the streets of Cleveland.

``We don't know when they're going to show up at our front door,'' said Dale Woodrell, the other uncle who helped build the reward fund.