SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A Grass Valley woman has received a reward for tipping off authorities to her great-nephew who was later convicted of starting a 2003 wildfire in the Inland Empire.
The $60,000 reward money was paid out Thursday to Elizabeth Rehkop, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The newspaper reported that $10,000 of the funds stemmed from an anonymous donation, while the bulk came from San Bernardino County.
The Associated Press reported that Rehkop applied for the reward in October of last year after telling deputies in 2004 that she suspected Rickie Lee Fowler because he admitted to being in the area in a white van. That van resembled the vehicle witnesses reported seeing a flare being thrown from, according to AP.
The October 2003 “Old Fire” claimed five lives and charred about 91,000 acres in the foothills above San Bernardino.
The fire raged for nine days and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
Fowler, who is 31, is currently on death row.
He was found guilty in Aug. 2012, of five counts of first-degree murder and two counts of arson in connection with the “Old Fire.” Those five victims died of heart attacks.