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Cold Case Spotlight

Reward Increased for Information in Brutal Murder of Volunteer Firefighter Tom Dorr

Tom Dorr

Nearly 20 years ago, volunteer firefighter Thomas Dorr was stabbed to death, his throat slit, in a wooded area across from his Westchester, New York home.

Dorr had trudged through the snow in the middle of a snowfall on January 7, 1996 to feed wild turkeys with his wife, Jane Sawyer Dorr, and adult stepson, Jeffrey Dorr, who reportedly lived with the couple.

The mother and son then allegedly returned home, later telling police they left Tom alone in the cold

The following morning, Tom’s fellow firefighters uncovered his body lightly buried in the snow.

Firefighters gather at an annual vigil in remembrance of Dorr. NBC New York

“Unfortunately, cold cases sometimes just get put on the back burner, but we would really love for someone to come forward,” Robert Allo, a former co-worker of Tom's and now a member of the Friends of Tom Dorr organization, told NBC New York.

But even back in 1996, police had a theory of who was responsible for the killing. Gathering enough evidence in the brutal attack and murder, though, has proven difficult.

“We focused on the family members, it was the wife and the stepson. Right off the bat, they asked for their attorney privileges, which hampered the case,” Westchester County Police Lt. Jeff Hunt said at a press conference two weeks ago.

It was shortly before the fifth anniversary of the murder, when Jane Sawyer Dorr and Jeffrey Dorr were named official suspects, but that was almost fifteen years ago. No one has even been arrested in connection with the case. Shortly after Tom's murder, his wife and stepson moved out of state.

Lt. Hunt said investigators believe the stepson was a drug addict and was angry after Tom refused to let him borrow his car.

Police also have said they think a friend of Jeffrey’s may know more then they have reported, and an increased reward may bring the tip they need to make a case.

On November 18 of this year, officials announced a $3,500 reward for information in the case offered by the Westchester County Crime Stoppers. There is a separate $2,5000 reward already in place from the state Crime Stopper chapter.

The increase brings the total award to $6,000.

“Tom was never afraid to speak his mind, and now we need someone to speak on his behalf, to come forward and shed light on what they know regarding the case,” Allo told The Journal News.

If you have any information that can help crack this case, please contact the Westchester Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 898-8477.