Melissa Peacock case: Tipster paid maximum $150K reward
Major Unsolved Crimes Program pays up to $150,000 for tips leading to convictions
After its first successful conviction last month, Nova Scotia's Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program has paid the maximum reward for the convictions for Melissa Dawn Peacock's murder.
The Department of Justice program pays up to $150,000, but until now, no tipster had ever been paid.
A tipster — who played a role in the arrest and murder convictions of Dustan Joseph Preeper, 26, and his 22-year-old brother Joshua Michael Preeper in Peacock's 2011 death — will receive the maximum reward amount of $150,000, the Justice Department confirmed.
The case was added to the Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program in May 2012. The information was received on the program's toll-free telephone line that same month.
The Preepers were arrested in July 2012.
The program also received an important tip regarding the 2010 homicide of Ben Hare, though that case was not part of the reward program.
"The caller to the rewards program was crucial in solving both the Melissa Peacock and Ben Hare homicides," said Insp. Larry Wilson, officer-in-charge of the provincial Major Crimes Unit for the RCMP in the province.
"The information provided was the turning point in the investigation that led to a successful conclusion in these matters."
70 unsolved crimes in the program
There are 77 cases in the program. Callers with tips must provide their name and contact information. All calls are recorded and the informant may be required to testify in court.
"I truly hope this conviction gives Ms. Peacock's family and loved ones some closure," said Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab. "This conviction would not have been possible without the public's help. We still have more than 70 unsolved crimes in the program and I hope the payout of an award will encourage others to come forward."
According to the Department of Justice, the amount paid out is determined by the quality of information received.
"The value of the rewards program cannot be understated. By providing an incentive for individuals who may have vital information, police can potentially identify those responsible for a crime and bring closure to the families of the victims," said Wilson.
The Keya Simon case is also part of Nova Scotia's Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program, though police say it's not clear whether the program had anything to do with the break in the case.
In August 2013, the program helped Halifax Regional Police and RCMP in an arrest in the homicide of Ryan White.
In October 2013, the program also helped RCMP in an arrest in the homicide of Narico Danfue Downey.