1995 Arizona Amtrak Derailment Still Unsolved; FBI Offers $310K Reward

By Carrie Jung
Published: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 3:53pm
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2015 - 4:13pm
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The Amtrak derailment near Hyder, Arizona, in 1995.
The FBI announced a $310,000 reward in 2015.

The FBI continues to investigate a 1995 Amtrak train derailment that killed one person in southwestern Arizona. The case has been open for almost 20 years.

On Friday, the agency announced a new $310,000 reward for new information leading to an arrest.

On Oct. 9, 1995, the Los Angeles-bound Sunset Limited passenger train derailed in a remote area of the Arizona desert near the town of Hyder. The incident injured more than 70 people and killed one.

Amtrak porter Mitchell Bates spoke on behalf of the man who was killed. "I’m told that Mr. Bates no longer has living survivors so I stand here representing his Amtrak family," said Bates.

"If you think back to 1995, the kind of information that someone might have had to possess to do the derailment in the manner in which they did might suggest a familiarity with the railroads," said Polly Hansen with the Amtrak Police Department.

Authorities said just before the crash, the track had been pulled apart and the saboteurs ran a wire across the gap to bypass the railroad’s electronic warning system. The motive is still unknown.

Authorities said they’ve interviewed hundreds of people in the last 20 years.

"The investigation has revealed certain events and we feel there’s individuals out there that know exactly what happened," said Mark Cwynar, assistant special agent with the FBI.

This isn’t the first time authorities have offered a cash reward for information on the case. In 1995, the FBI offered $120,000 but later increased that to $320,000 in 1998.

"We are going to investigate all angles all leads that are generated from this and our ongoing investigation, and we’re going to bring it to closure, plain and simple," Cwynar said.

Cwynar said the move is also meant to send a message to those responsible that the FBI is close to closing the case. The agency is watching, he said.

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