July 25, 2008
Family increases reward for missing woman
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Terry Curtis, at right, father of missing Killawog woman Bethanie Dougherty, spoke with news media Thursday at Broome County Sheriff’s Department about raising the reward for information leading to the discovery of Dougherty’s whereabouts. Broome County investigators Detective Tim Doyle, left, and Lt. Patrick Isenburg listen.
DICKINSON — Avis Dufresne gazed at her ex-husband with tears in her eyes as she listened to him announce a new reward amount for information on their missing daughter.
“We are doing this to create some more attention,” said Terry Curtis, Dufresne’s ex-husband. “Hopefully this money will convince someone to come forward. We are convinced that someone out there knows something. Our goal is to get Bethanie back.”
Dufresne and Curtis’ daughter, Bethanie Dougherty, 40, of Killawog, has been missing for nearly four months.
The reward now stands at $15,000, her family said at a news conference Thursday at the Broome County Sheriff’s Department in the town of Dickinson.
Dougherty was last seen wearing purple pajamas at 10 p.m. on April 1 by her oldest son Logan. At 3 a.m. on April 2, neighbors on Jennings Creek Road called police after hearing screams. Police found nothing, but Dougherty was reported missing later that day.
Police have searched hundreds of acres around Dougherty’s home and up and down the Tioughnioga River looking for Dougherty or any clues leading to her whereabouts.
The Broome County Sheriff’s Department has conducted interviews and investigated hundreds of leads but has turned up nothing, police said.
“The investigation is ongoing but we still have nothing to go on,” Broome County Sheriff David Harder said Thursday afternoon.
In May, a national foundation and the family of the missing Killawog woman began offering separate rewards for information leading to the woman s return — $3,800 from family and friends and $5,000 from Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, established in 1999 by a family whose daughter was violently murdered that same year in California.
Dougherty’s family has raised more money and changed the stipulations for the reward.
The original offer terms stated that payment would only be made for information leading to the safe return of Dougherty, and defined safe as being alive. Payment will now be made for information leading to her safe return or the return of her remains. If Dougherty is not alive, her remains must be recovered and identified.
Curtis said the family is offering $10,000 for this information. The additional $5,000 from the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation will be rewarded if the information leads to Dougherty’s safe return home.
“We’re trying to generate any information,” Curtis said. “We want Bethanie back; it’s been a very frustrating four months now.”
Curtis admitted after the news conference that as time passes, it is getting harder for him to keep up the hope that his daughter is still alive.
“It’s been hell,” Dufresne said.
Carolyn Curtis, Terry’s wife, said the hardest part is the not knowing. “We can’t drive anywhere without looking in the woods or down at the riverbanks,” she said.
“I can’t leave my house without looking for her,” a crying Dufresne added. “It’s hard to know what it is going to be like because we don’t know.
“If she were to come home we would throw one heck of a party, I’ll tell you that,” Dufresne said with a little smile through her tears.
Carolyn Curtis said it is just getting harder every day. Her husband was very depressed for a while.
He said he had to keep himself busy to get rid of it. But he looks at his daughter’s pictures every day, and not only does he think about how she is missing, but he remembers the good memories he has shared with her. Harder said investigators are reviewing the hundreds of leads they have already been through, looking at them from a new perspective to see if anything new can be discovered.
He added he is confident police can solve this case.
Cards give info about Killawog woman
To keep the name of his missing daughter, Bethanie Dougherty, in the public eye, Terry Curtis has distributed pocket cards with a 2008-09 calendar on one side and information about Dougherty on the other.
“I was trying to think of something I could hand out to people that they could use and wouldn’t throw away,” Curtis said. “We are convinced someone out there knows something, and maybe because the reward the first time wasn’t for information about her remains, no one came forward.”
The card also lists the Web site www.findbethaniedougherty.com, which talks about Dougherty’s disappearance and lists markings on her such as tattoos and piercings.
The Web site was created by SomeoneIsMissing.com Inc., a registered corporation in the state of Florida that develops Web sites using missing persons information provided by family or friends of the missing person.
Curtis said he has had 5,000 of the pocket cards printed and plans to go to large events to hand them out and place them at convenient store counters, such as the one Dougherty worked at in Freeville.
Curtis will also be handing the cards out on Aug. 25 when the Community United Effort Center for missing persons, a North Carolina-based organization that has a national remembrance tour for missing people, comes to Marathon.
Curtis said he arranged for the center to be in Marathon from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 25.
“They call attention to missing people and unsolved crimes,” Curtis said. “It’s a publicity thing because it’s really a larger problem than anyone is aware of. It’s an epidemic. I never realized how big of a problem it was until I got involved.”
The annual tour was created to generate new interest in cold cases of missing persons across the nation, according to the CUE Center’s Web site. The inspiration came during a 2004 case of a North Carolina college student, Leah Roberts, who had gone on a cross-country trip of exploration. Her wrecked abandoned vehicle was later found, leaving no sign of her whereabouts for years.
Leah’s case went cold and interest faded until CUE volunteers set out on a 14-day trip to retrace her route and inform the news media along the way of all those that were missing in the path of the tour.
This year will be the center’s fifth annual tour.
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