NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – The City of Newport and some of its citizens are coming together to offer a reward in the murder investigation of Paul Tinsley.
A committee made of the 78-year-old's closest friends collected $25,000 recently. Members say they hope the money will lead investigators to the person who shot and killed Tinsley in his business last month.
"Paul Tinsley was a dear friend of mine, much as a brother," Jim Bishop of Newport said. "I have been a pallbearer some hundred times, and it hurt me worse to carry Paul to the cemetery than it did anyone."
Bishop shares a personal pain with a close circle of friends, all of whom drank coffee with Tinsley at, what they call, the "roundtable."
"Paul Tinsley was there every day and was just a great guy," Bishop noted. "We feel that we owe this to the family of the Tinsleys. We really do."
He hopes closure can come soon for them. The former Jackson County sheriff has led an effort to offer the $25,000 reward, which will be posted Wednesday. Those with information or evidence are asked to call the Newport Police Department.
Newport Police are one of the agencies investigating the murder of Tinsley, who was found shot in the head in his car dealership on January 3.
"I think, with all of us working together, we can bring closure to the Tinsley family," Bishop added.
Police tape no longer surrounds Tinsley Auto Sales, located at 1216 Highway 367 North. A bouquet of roses now lies on the front steps of the brick office building, where police say someone enter and assassinated the used car dealer. No arrests have been made, and the police have yet to offer any new information.
Friends are assured, though, that investigators are working diligently on the case, but they hope the $25,000 reward will prevent it from going cold.
"If someone has information they're holding back for some reason or another, this kind of money will hopefully shake those people loose," Bishop said, adding: "I just feel it's going to work. I think, for $25,000, if anybody knows out there, they're going to come forward."
The City of Newport may also contribute to the reward fund. Mayor David Stewart said the City Council may decide next week to contribute an undisclosed amount.
Region 8 News will continue to track this story and provide any updates, as they become available.