Crime Stoppers offers $200,000 reward in Iranian woman’s killing
May 16, 2012 at 2:12 PM
The unsolved murder of a student at the Texas Medical Center has prompted Crime Stoppers of Houston to offer a $200,000 reward, the largest cash amount ever in the organization’s history.
Crime Stoppers announced last month an increased reward of $10,000 for information leading to an arrest or charges in the Jan. 16 fatal shooting of Gelareh Bagherzadeh, an outspoken critic of human rights policies in her native Iran.
On Tuesday, the organization increased that amount yet again, to $200,000. Houston Police Department Sgt. J. C. Padilla said investigators have no motive in the case.
“We are not ruling out anything at this point,” Padilla said. “The more we talk to people, the more we realize we need the community’s help.”
Katherine Cabaniss, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, said the reward doubles the previous largest reward of $100,000 offered in the 2006 Clear Lake murders of four young people. It resulted in a tip that helped solve the case, she said.
“Rewards of this size work.” Cabaniss said.
Police are still baffled by the January 16 murder of Gelareh Bagherzadeh, a Texas Medical Center student and activist against the Iranian government who was gunned down in an expensive neighborhood.
Bagherzadeh, 30, was shot while driving her car about 12:30 a.m. outside her parents’ townhome in the 800 block of Augusta near Sugar Hill near the Galleria area. After she was shot, the vehicle crashed into property in the townhouse complex.
Bagherzadeh, who was studying molecular genetic technology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was active in promoting Iranian women’s rights.
Nothing was taken from the vehicle, but Houston police haven’t ruled out the possibility it could have been a botched robbery. Investigators in January also had not found any evidence suggesting she was targeted for her nationality or activism.
Anyone with information about suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).
Tips also can be submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org or sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.