Law enforcement officials have increased the reward to $115,000 for information leading to an arrest in the investigation of the deadly package bombings that happened earlier this month in Austin, officials announced Sunday. Two Austin residents were killed and two were critically injured in the bombings.
The FBI, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Austin police department are asking for the public's help in identifying suspect(s) responsible for the package bombs. The reward total includes $15,000 previously announced by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Police said the bombings in east Austin — two on Monday March 12 and one on March 2 — are likely linked.
The March 2 bombing killed Anthony Stephan House after he handled a box left on his front porch.
The March 12 bombing killed 17-year-old Draylen William Mason after he opened a package that was left on the front porch of his residence he shared with his mother. She was critically injured.
Later on March 2, a Hispanic 75-year-old woman was critically injured when she handled a package left near her home.
Investigators are looking into whether race was a factor, police said, because all the victims have been minorities. However, they backed off initial suggestions that hate crimes could be a core cause and are not ruling out any possibilities.
The detonations prompted warnings from police departments across Texas, including Dallas Police, which published a bulletin urging people to be vigilant of unexpected package deliveries. Police say to not touch suspicious packages and call police.
About 500 federal agents are assisting the investigation and there have been over 435 leads called in, police said at a press conference Sunday.
Officials have responded to 735 calls of suspicious packages in Austin.
Anyone with information regarding the package bomb investigation is asked to call Austin police at 512-472-8477.