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Family hopes reward helps solve 1998 Ill. killing

Published: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 11:10 p.m. CDT

ROCKFORD – The family of a carpenter killed 15 years ago in northern Illinois city hopes a $5,000 reward helps draw leads that finally can crack the case.

Joan Gitchel told the Rockford Register Star she’s sickened that whoever fatally shot her son, 32-year-old Dan Myers, is living a normal life, and she calls that “disgusting” and unfair.

“To think [the killer] is walking around doing normal things. He gets to get up and see the sunrise, walk around and do what he wants. Dan can’t do that,” Gitchel said.

Relatives say that the day he was killed, on April 30, 1998, Myers had been living in Janesville, Wis., but was moving to Rockford to live with a girlfriend before he went out that evening to drink with friends at Rocky’s Tap in nearby Loves Park before he apparently was shot in the neck near Rockford. His body, face down, was found by a mail carrier near a liquor store, and his truck turned up abandoned a short distance away.

No one was ever charged, and the case got colder with every year that passed. The family once hired a private investigator when the police efforts stalled and consulted a psychic, though neither pursuit panned out.

“I’m sure it’s a huge stretch for a lot of people, the whole psychic thing,” Chris Myers, a sister of the victim, told the newspaper for an April story chronicling the 15-year anniversary of the killing. But “we were stretching. We were desperate.”

Winnebago County sheriff’s investigator Dominic Iasparro said the case remains open, periodically revisited by investigators.

“The family desperately wants to know what happened to their son, and they have every right in the world to demand answers,” he has said. “Somebody within this community knows those answers.”

“In so many ways he comes to mind every day, and it brings tears to my eyes and hits me at odd times,” Gitchel said. “It feels like you have a hole in your heart, and it never ends. It’s always there, and my two daughters are the same way. You can never get over it.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Winnebago County authorities.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

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