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Search won’t end yet for suspects in slaying

SHARE Search won’t end yet for suspects in slaying

Two suspects in the shooting of a police officer have eluded SWAT teams, trackers, and National Guard helicopters for 14 days, but authorities vowed Thursday to continue their search.

The Cortez City Council matched a $5,000 reward collected by area residents for the capture of the two men wanted in the death of a Cortez policeman, said city manager Bill Ray.The FBI announced a $50,000 reward Wednesday, and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell also secured a pledge of $250,000 from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"These cold-blooded killers have successfully evaded a dragnet of hundreds of officers with helicopters and infrared equipment," said Campbell.

"Together, this reward, along with the outstanding efforts of local, county, state and federal law enforcement officers will work to help quickly bring these killers to justice," he said.

Ray said tests are still being conducted to try to determine if ammunition in a knapsack found by two highway workers near Lake Powell is linked to the fugitives.

Highway workers also found a crossbow near the ammunition bag late Tuesday night.

If there is a connection, the search for the two men could shift to the resort area in Utah. The bullets were corroded and it was hard to tell how old they are, Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said.

In the meantime, searchers are continuing to focus on the desolate areas around Cross Canyon and the Dolores River Valley.

Suspects Alan "Monte" Pilon, 30, of Dove Creek, and Jason Wayne McVean, 26, of Durango, have eluded SWAT teams, trackers, and National Guard helicopters since May 29, when Officer Dale Claxton was shot and killed.

A third suspect, Robert Matthew Mason, 26, was found June 4 near Bluff, Utah, dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The manhunt began May 29 after three men riddled a police car with automatic-weapons fire, killing Claxton, who had pulled them over in a stolen truck. The three fired as many as 500 rounds at pursuing officers, wounding two, before fleeing on foot into the desert.

The search converged on Bluff, Utah, during the weekend after a man was fired at near the San Juan River and a deputy sheriff was wounded last Thursday. Later that day, Mason's body was found in a makeshift bunker near the river.