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Law

FBI reward in prosecutor's death

From Terry Frieden and Carol Cratty
CNN Washington Bureau

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Jonathan Luna

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BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- The FBI Friday announced a reward of up to $100,000 for information that will help federal agents determine whether the brutal death of federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna was a homicide, suicide, or a random act of violence.

The FBI says it is pursuing all three theories in the mysterious December death, but still lacks critical information, which investigators hope can be provided by members of the public.

The announcement by Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins said the financial incentive is intended to encourage someone to step forward with information "leading to the resolution" of the investigation into Luna's death.

Agents especially want information which could explain two separate hourlong gaps in a timeline of Luna's whereabouts in the early morning hours before he was found dead in a creek bed, stabbed 36 times.

"This investigation is open and very active," Perkins told reporters at a Baltimore news conference. But he refused to discuss details of the probe.

"We are following all potential outcomes," said an equally tight-lipped Steven McDaniel of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Federal law enforcement sources told CNN investigators are divided over whether Luna was killed or whether the dozens of small knife wounds on his body were self-inflicted.

Luna's body was discovered the morning of December 4, 2003, in a creek bed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The discovery, coming at the close of Luna's prosecution of a violent drug trafficking organization, prompted law enforcement officials to initially suspect a connection between Luna's death and the drug case he had overseen.

Justice Department officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, expressed outrage, and vowed the killer or killers would be identified and prosecuted.

However, as the investigation began to turn up unusual secret trips to Pennsylvania, personal debts, and private Internet communications, agents became puzzled about a possible motive in the case.

The FBI said investigators have evidence Luna had contact with someone between the time he left his office shortly before midnight, and the time his body was discovered at 5:30 a.m.

They are particularly interested in finding out what may have happened between 1 a.m., when Luna used his debit card at an ATM in Newark, Delaware, and 2:30 a.m., when Luna's vehicle accessed the New Jersey Turnpike. Travel between the two points fails to account for the nearly hourlong gap.

The second unexplained gap occurred between 4 a.m., when Luna's car exited the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Lancaster interchange, and the 5:30 a.m. discovery of his body off a nearby rural road.


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