Two weeks after the murder of MU microbiologist Jeong Im, University Police announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Im, 72, was semi-retired but still involved in research in the MU Department of Molecular Microbiology and Heredity. His body was discovered in the trunk of his burning car in the Maryland Avenue parking garage at 12:24 p.m. on Jan. 7. The reward will be funded by revenue from parking violations.
Christian Basi, a spokesperson for the university, said he couldn't recall the university issuing a reward within the past decade. Basi has been associated with the university for 14 years.
Basi said the money being used for the reward would normally be put in a general account and used for maintenance and improvements in the parking garages as well as the trails.
MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said that the reward offer was not a sign that the police have hit a dead end in their investigation of the slaying. He said the reward would simply help direct police to every potential lead in the case. In the Friday release, police said they had followed up on more than 185 leads and were currently interviewing people and analyzing possible physical evidence in the case.
Seven members of the department are working full-time on the case, and "the department continues to receive assistance from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and other agencies," Weimer said in the release. The Mid-Missouri Major Case squad, which had been helping with the case, withdrew last Sunday.
Im's body was found in the trunk of his white Honda sedan on the third floor of the parking garage after a 911 caller reported a car on fire there. After the fire was extinguished, police discovered Im's body. He had suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest before the fire began, police said.
On Jan. 10, police released a composite drawing of a man who was seen in the garage around the time of the murder. According to Friday's release, the person of interest is described as "a male between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches in height, possibly wearing a painter's or a drywall mask" and "is believed to have been carrying some type of gas can."
People with any pertinent information can direct their calls to the police at (573) 882-7203. If individuals wish to remain anonymous, they are urged to call CrimeStoppers at (573) 875-TIPS.