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Christopher Dorner reward: 80 percent goes to Reynolds couple

Karen and Jim Reynolds speak to reporters on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, about their encounter with fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer Chris Dorner while he was on the run. The couple walked into one of their properties and surprised Dorner, who was hiding from authorities.

May 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A panel has decided that three claimants will split the approximately $1 million Christopher Dorner reward money, with 80 percent going to the Reynolds couple, who were tied up by the fugitive former cop in their cabin. The Reynolds were able to untie themselves and call police.

Dorner was wanted in the killing of Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, as well as in the shooting deaths of Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Det. Jeremiah MacKay. In his manifesto, Dorner threatened to kill all officers who played a part in his dismissal from the LAPD, including their families.

Dorner died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Feb. 12 after a final stand at an Angelus Oaks cabin that went up in flames. His charred body was found inside.

Five percent of the reward will go to Lee McDaniel, who reported to police that he spotted a man he believed to be Dorner on Feb. 7 at a Corona gas station. According to the panel's report, McDaniel's report confirmed Dorner's presence in the Inland Empire. Investigators had been exploring possibilities that Dorner had fled to Mexico, Las Vegas or Utah.

"I still have mixed emotions," McDaniel told Eyewitness News in a statement. "There was a lot more tragedy than any more could ever make good."

Fifteen percent will go to Daniel McGowan, who came upon a burning truck on a rarely used road on Feb. 7. He contacted authorities, who determined that the truck belonged to Dorner. The panel determined that McGowan's information launched a significant manhunt for Dorner in the Big Bear Lake area, where he was ultimately found.

McGowan said he had completely forgotten about the possibility of a reward.

But it was the information provided by James and Karen Reynolds that led to the pursuit and capture of Dorner, the panel concluded.

The Reynolds, owners of Mountain Vista Resort, had entered a vacant unit on Feb. 12 and surprised the fugitive who was hiding out. In the next 15 minutes, Dorner bound and gagged the couple with extension cords and plastic ties that bit into their wrists. When he left in their vehicle, they managed to remove the gags call 911.

Hours later, Dorner engaged deputies in a shootout that left San Bernardino Detective MacKay dead.

"Had Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds failed promptly to escape their restraints and contact law enforcement, it is likely Dorner would have escaped unseen in their Nissan SUV," the panel said in its report.

There were nine other claimants, but the panel concluded that none of them were entitled to the reward money.