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Slain woman's kin raise reward to $20,000

With little information in the case and the reward offer not being much help, family members decide to double the amount of money for information about woman's death.

By JOUNICE L. NEALY

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 12, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- With little progress in the investigation of the beating death of Beth Swanson, family members decided Friday to double the reward to $20,000 for information about the slaying.

"We're doing everything we can, and we just felt like we've exhausted all efforts," said Suzi Ross, Mrs. Swanson's cousin. "What else can we do? Sometimes money talks. Unfortunately."

A billboard on Interstate 275 offering the reward will be updated.

Police have no suspects.

"We've been told that they have leads that they are still looking into. And you can imagine how frustrating that is," Ross said.

Mrs. Swanson was co-owner with her husband of Palms Cleaners and Laundromat in the Coquina Key Plaza. On Feb. 11, she was filling in for an employee when she was attacked. Mrs. Swanson was beaten on the head.

Detectives found a few hundred dollars missing from the cash drawer at the cleaners, at 401 45th Ave. S.

Police still are looking at a man who was arrested in Key West and charged with murdering two women, including one from Miami. Michael A. Tanzi, who has denied that he killed Swanson, still is considered a person of interest to St. Petersburg detectives, but they say he is not a suspect.

Meanwhile, investigators continue searching evidence for clues.

Initially, Mrs. Swanson's family thought that money might generate help with solving the case. Friends and family raised $10,000 for the reward, which was deposited in an account at First Union bank. Since then, they have raised an additional $10,000.

After an arrest, police will determine who will receive money.

Police ask anyone with information about the case to call Detective Bob Schock at (727) 893-7782 or (727) 893-7780.

The campaign to find the killer does not end with the reward.

Eller Media donated the billboard along Interstate 275 at 28th Avenue S that displays a picture of Mrs. Swanson, the circumstances surrounding her death and a telephone number to call with tips.

An estimated 42,800 people drive by the board daily.

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