Lubbock Police Say Ysasaga Crime Line Tip Source Paid, Not Immune from Prosecution
Lubbock Police Department's Assistant Police Chief James Shavers has released a statement following allegations that a named person of interest in the murder of Mark Ysasaga received $10,000 for a Crime Line tip that led authorities to the discovery of his body.
The following is Assistant Police Chief James Shavers' statement:
There was a reward posted for $10,000 to anyone with information leading us to Mark’s body.
We had many tips, some credible some not. For instance one tipster insisted we meet him where he would take us to Mark’s body buried in a barrel. After arranging the meeting he took our detectives to a muddy field near Idalou where he pointed to a spot where he had no knowledge Mark was but had a “feeling” if we dug there we would find him.
Another was brought to the police station because he said Mark was buried under some shingles somewhere near the airport towards New Deal. It turned out he had overheard a couple of kids talking long ago about that’s where they bet he was.
Through another Crime Line tip we located a young man and brought him to the police station. We were very near calling in the Street Department with a backhoe and jackhammer to tear out a section of paved alley near 73rd and Iola. The tip was Mark had been buried there before a concrete pour in 2012. Luckily before that happened, he recanted his story and admitted that his knowledge about the case had been from media reports and had inserted himself into the case to impress people.
Another Crime Line tip lead us to call on the Lubbock Fire Rescue Dive Team to search the water near the Canyon Lakes Dam east of MLK.
Had any of these tips lead us to Mark’s body they would have been paid the reward money regardless of how they came to have the information.
We had an opportunity to have a credible source in front of us. A source that we believed was the best and likely the only chance to recover Mark’s body. That source wished to have the reward money for information leading to Mark Ysasaga’s body. There has to be an issued Crime Line reference number before a reward can be paid. The only way to get that number is to call Crime Line and give a tip. The source made the call and was issued a tip number.
The tip provided by the source proved to be valid, Mark Ysasaga’s body was recovered and the reward was paid.
This is still an open and active criminal investigation. There is a person in the Lubbock County Detention Facility charged with the murder of Mark Ysasaga. The source that lead us to the discovery of Mark’s body has had no offer of immunity to prosecution in this death investigation related to the Crime Line tip.
This has been a very difficult time for Anna and her family. We understand her frustration with us at times but applaud her resolve.
Again, this is still an ongoing criminal investigation and we cannot and will not further discuss the details of the case as it works its way through the judicial system.
In an interview Friday, Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said he was "very concerned" about the department's handling of the Ysasaga case after allegations that $10,000 -- raised in part by the Ysasaga family -- was given to Christian Castro following an anonymous Crime Line up that led authorities to Ysasaga's body.
Castro was previously named a "person of interest" in the death of Ysasaga by Lubbock police.
The identity of the person who received the $10,000 reward has not officially been revealed due to the anonymity provided to callers by Crime Line.
Anna Ysasaga said in a Facebook post that she hoped the LPD did not give a reward to anyone involved in the death of her son.
"All I can say is I hope LPD did not give the reward money to anyone that took part in my sons [sic] death," Ysasaga said. "We worked really hard to raise the $2500 that we put in. That money could have helped us lay my son to rest."
Jose Simental is the only person charged to date for the murder of Mark Ysasaga.
Ysasaga went missing in June 2012. He was 15 years old at the time of his disappearance. His body was discovered and positively identified in June 2015.