AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public’s help in solving the 2005 murder of Valerie Benevidez Laguna, and an increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible if the tip is received before next month’s featured case is announced. (A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website.)
On the evening of July 19, 2005, the body of Valerie Laguna, 26, was found at the Cristo Rey Cemetery (pictured below) near Cotulla, in LaSalle County. She was eight months pregnant and last seen at a private residence in the early morning hours on July 19. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Despite an intensive investigation by the Texas Rangers and the La Salle County Sheriff’s office, the case remains unsolved.
To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.
The DPS Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help garner public interest in unsolved or “cold cases.” Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/TexasRangers/UnsolvedHomicides/index.htm.
As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.
The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.