Couple Held Captive in Dorner Manhunt Seeks Reward Money

Jim and Karen Reynolds are seeking at least $100,000 in reward

The couple who were held captive in their Big Bear cabin under ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner’s control during a county-wide manhunt is making a claim on a reward pot that totals $1.2 million.

A claims letter written on behalf of Jim and Karen Reynolds by their attorney, Kirk Hallam, was sent March 7 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which contributed $100,000 of the total reward of $1.2 million.

"Only the information provided to law enforcement by the Reynolds, and not by any other citizen, caused Mr. Dorner to be captured (i.e. corned with no escape) and killed (apparently in an act of suicide)," Hallam wrote in the letter.

The couple had come upon Dorner -- the subject of an extensive manhunt after he killed an Irvine couple, a Riverside police officer and shot at several other officers -- in their Big Bear condo on Feb. 12.

Dorner tied them up, then stole the couple’s vehicle and drove away from the property. After Dorner left, Karen Reynolds rolled onto her knees and hopped into the living room, where she used her cell phone to call 911 and report their experience with Dorner.

The letter requests the county's entire $100,000 reward and claims that the Reynolds couple has satisfied all legal conditions for receiving the reward.

"No one else is entitled to a share of the reward," the letter states.


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Initially, NBC4 could not reach the Reynolds' attorney at the time of publication. However, one day later, Hallam said that in addition to the letter sent to the Board of Supervisors, he has also submitted a separate letter on behalf of the Reynolds couple seeking the $1 million reward from the City of Los Angeles.

A spokeswoman for the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which is monitoring the total $1.2 million reward pot, would not comment on receipt of any letters related to the reward from the Reynoldses.

“We are overseeing the reward as a whole, but it involves more than 30 separate entities and organizations who all have to collaborate and work together to determine the reward,” said Vicki Curry, senior press secretary for Villaraigosa.

Law enforcement officers from all agencies involved in the nearly weeklong manhunt will gather to read reports, listen to tapes and come to a consensus by mid-April, Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said Thursday.

Before reward claims are considered, law enforcement must complete all investigations involved with the Dorner manhunt, Curry said.

“It’s going to take some time,” Curry said. “This [case] is pretty unusual.”

Scout ranger Rick Heltebrake, who was carjacked by Dorner on a Big Bear-area road, filed a claim to the city of Los Angeles on Feb. 19, according to the City Clerk’s Office.

“Mr. Heltebrake’s telephone call to Deputy Franklin notified law enforcement of Mr. Dorner’s location, provided a description of the vehicle he was fleeing in, and was a substantial factor in the capture of Mr. Dorner,” Allen L. Thomas, Heltebrake’s lawyer, wrote in the letter.

The letter on behalf of the Reynolds pointedly states that Heltebrake's call to authorites came after Karen Reynolds' and came only as a "hot pursuit" for Dorner was already under way.

Thomas submitted a claim for the $100,000 reward to the county Board of Supervisors on March 7 - the same day that the Reynoldses did so.

Both claims submitted to the county by Heltebrake and the Reynolds couple will be reviewed by a team of people in the Board of Supervisors office, said David Sommers, director of public affairs for LA County. The review team consists of representatives from legal, risk management and law enforcement.

“We have a very well used process for considering rewards,” Sommers said.

After the team reviews the reward claims, the funds can be divided among those who submitted letters, said Sommers, who added that the board has divided rewards in the past.

People seeking the $100,000 reward offered by the Board of Supervisors can submit written claims for the funds through July 12, 2013, according to the reward notice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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