Latrobe woman's family calls for brave witnesses
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Every day, someone gives Carol Polo information about the murder of her 22-year-old daughter, Samantha Joann Lang, in Derry Township five years ago.
The tips -- details about Samantha's murder and the identity of her killer -- stream in from acquaintances of the dozen or so residents of the greater Derry-Latrobe area who know what happened, Mrs. Polo said. But so far, none of those people has been willing to volunteer new information directly to the state police investigating the case.
Investigators believe they can catch her daughter's murderer, Mrs. Polo said, but they need more information to make the convictions stick.
"People haven't forgotten what happened," said Mrs. Polo, of Latrobe. "We just need the right person to come forward and be brave and not be intimidated."
In the years since Samantha Lang was found, her throat slashed, in the kitchen of her father's home in March 2007, her family members and friends have raised $3,000 to add to a $2,000 reward offered by Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers in an effort to solve the crime. A total cash reward of $5,000 will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who killed her, according to state police investigators. Information can be given anonymously and tipsters' identities will be kept confidential.
Anyone with information on the case should call the Greensburg barracks at 1-724-832-3288 or Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers at 1-800-472-8477, or submit information online at www.tipsubmit.com.
The case is one of the top priorities of the state police in Greensburg, said investigator Trooper Robert Harr. Troopers throughout the barracks, he said, from patrol officers to undercover vice officers to criminal investigators, ask people they come in contact with for information about Samantha Lang's murder.
"We think it's a solvable case," Trooper Harr said. "We think people in our area know a lot more than we're being told and for whatever reason won't come forward with information."
Ms. Lang, her mother said, lived with her but checked on her father's house on Route 982 every other day while he and his second wife were incarcerated. After Ms. Lang's body was found, authorities said the home appeared to have been ransacked.
Mrs. Polo said she doesn't know why someone would murder her daughter, a funny, outgoing and loving young woman who often visited her mother during her overnight shift at Walmart and who so doted on her younger brother and niece that she joined her mother in signing up for Latrobe Elementary School's parent-teacher organization.
But she's positive she knows who killed her daughter, because all those secret tips over the years have pointed in just one direction. And she's not going to stop pushing for answers until her daughter's murder is solved, she said.
"She was my baby -- she was my baby girl," Mrs. Polo said. "Do they think this family is going to forget about her? We're coming for them, we are fighting and when all is said and done, the dominos are going to fall."
Anyone with information about Samantha's murder, she said, should know that her daughter would have done everything in her power to help them if their situations were reversed.
"I'm not a snitch, OK? But if it comes to somebody's murder, I would tell what I knew in a heartbeat and so would Samantha," Mrs. Polo said. "She would be the first to tell what she knew."
First Published September 20, 2012 5:19 am