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Million-Dollar Dorner Reward Split Unevenly to Three Parties

A panel of judges reviewed claims submitted by a dozen people.

Four people will split a $1-million reward offered during the hunt for ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner, who killed two Orange County residents during his murder spree. The bulk of the money will go to a couple who were tied up in their Big Bear cabin by the fugitive, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday.

The division of money was recommended by a panel of retired judges who reviewed claims submitted by 12 parties looking to get a share of the money. The first installment of the reward money is expected to be given out Friday.

James and Karen Reynolds, who own a cabin in Big Bear Lake and were tied up by Dorner when they found him inside, will receive 80 percent of the reward. The panel determined that if the couple had not escaped their restraints and notified police, Dorner would have evaded police.

Instead, their tip prompted a chase that led to another cabin, where Dorner barricaded himself and engaged in a gun battle with San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies -- killing one before shooting himself. The cabin eventually burst into flames, and Dorner's remains were found inside.

Daniel McGowan, a ski resort employee who spotted Dorner's burning truck by the side of a remote Big Bear Lake road, shifting the focus of the Dorner manhunt to San Bernardino County, will receive 15 percent of the reward.

The judges concluded his tip was valuable because the truck was in a remote location, where it could have gone undetected for days. His share of the reward was less than the Reynoldses' because his tip did not directly lead to Dorner, the panel decided.

Lee McDaniel, a Corona tow truck driver who spotted Dorner at a gas station during the manhunt, will receive 5 percent of the reward. The panel said McDaniel's information allowed police to determine that Dorner was still in Southern California instead of Mexico, Utah or Las Vegas.

The panel decided that even though Dorner died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot, it was sufficient that the three parties' tips led directly or indirectly to law enforcement surrounding the Big Bear cabin in which he ultimately died.

Richard Heltebrake, whose pickup truck was carjacked by Dorner after the fugitive fled from the Reynoldses' cabin, was not awarded any reward money. The panel noted police were already pursuing Dorner when the hijacking occurred.   

S L S May 10, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Tie me up for 800k.
Eric Bergstrom May 11, 2013 at 01:16 AM
There are probably some readers out there who would pay for that.
Marc Loopesko May 11, 2013 at 07:55 PM
it seems that these people, the way that they were fighting over the money, would have not called the police unless they knew about the reward money..... sad statement about society these days

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