Reward Doubled for Info in 1994 Florida Homicide of 15-Year-Old Laralee Spear

Wess Haubrich

“Clear your conscience.”
Laralee Spear screengrab from video.Volusia County Sheriff.

The 1994 sexual assault and murder of 15-year-old Laralee Spear left an indelible scar on Deland, Florida.

It certainly has on the county sheriff too.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office officially upped the $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest to $50,000. What makes this even more extraordinary is the fact that it was the Volusia Sheriff who set the $25k reward for information back in March.

The Case

On April 25, 1994, 15-year-old Deland High School student Laralee Spear returned from her studies at around 3:15 the way she had many times before: she used the school bus and walked the rest of the way from the stop to home.

She would never reach her destination.

When Laralee did not return at 4:05 that day, her mother called the Volusia County Sheriff who immediately sent responding deputies. About two hours after they arrived, Laralee was found sexually assaulted and shot execution style to the back of her head

Laralee was spotted by air only one quarter of a mile from her home, in a burned-out house.


Investigators have done what they could with the available evidence. That is often the problem, we just do not have the proper scientific tools NOW – but they may very well come along. This has been the case with genetic genealogy (how the Golden State Killer was caught) – a subject the author has written on for News break at some length.

The Sheriff and the FBI have been working together on new tests for the evidence in this case. As Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in March, “We do have forensic evidence there that as time goes by, DNA improves, the technology improves but there are people who know who that was, too.” The case needs a reliable eyewitness (if indeed one exists) to share what they know.

“If anyone out there has information that could help bring this innocent girl’s killer or killers to justice, now is the time to clear your conscience and come forward,” Sheriff Chitwood said in a press release. They also released a video to commemorate the memory of Laralee. Watch and share it below:

Video courtesy of Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the Major Case Unit via email at or 386-254-1537.

Journalist and dogged student of all things forensic, Wess Haubrich, examines the nitty, gritty details you didn’t know about famous (and not so famous but equally weird) crimes and their unseen motivations. Thanks for reading!

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact:


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