Burk's Father: "We appreciate what everyone is doing for us and Lauren"
Auburn, Al. (WSFA) -- A multi-agency task force is now in place to solve the Lauren Burk murder case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshal's Service, Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Alabama Department of Forensics, Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office and numerous other local agencies are spearheading a round the clock effort to bring the case to a close.
(Another murder oddly similar to the Burk case occured Wednesday in North Carolina. Click here to read more on that story.)
James Burk, Lauren's father issued a statement saying, "The Burk family was so proud to have Lauren as an Auburn University student. We want to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Auburn University, the City of Auburn, and the Auburn Police Department. We feel very close to your community. We appreciate what everyone is doing for us and Lauren."
Police are pursuing all leads in the Burk case and ask that anyone with information contact CrimeStoppers at 888-522-7847 or the APD hotline at (334) 501-7337. Governor Bob Riley's office is also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Funeral arrangements are also being announced. Services will be held on Sunday, March 9th at Patterson's Funeral Home in Marietta, Georgia though a specific time has not yet been announced.
How it started:
The case started when police responded to a report of an injured female around 9p.m. Tuesday on North College Street. When police arrived on the scene, they found 18-year old Burk in the middle of the road suffering from a single gunshot wound. She was transported to East Alabama Medical Center where she died a short time later.
Within 30 minutes of receiving the intial call, police and firefighters were called to a car fire on Auburn's campus. Lauren's car, a black 2001 Honda Civic sitting in the Hinton Field parking lot, was fully engulfed with flames. Firefighters quickly put out the blaze and police and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences started an investigation at a second crime scene.
WSFA 12 News Intern and AU student Melissa Johnson grabbed a camera and began filming the car fire for the campus television news program, Eagle Eye News. She wasn't aware the car would eventually be connected to a murder. "It's kind of surreal," she says, "we thought it was no big deal, just kind of a car on fire, and it ended up to be such a huge tragedy here on campus."
Word quickly spread through the Auburn community and on social networking sites like Facebook where it was the talk of town all day Wednesday. National media outlets soon picked up the story as well. A tribute page to Burk was set up in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and it had several thousand group members by the end of the day.
At this time though, there are no suspects in the case. Auburn Assistant Police Chief Tommy Dawson is not talking openly about a motive or who the department has interviewed in connection with the case.
Dawson broke the news to Burk's parents late Tuesday night. He says, "...in 21 years of police work [it's] the most difficult thing I've done...I have a daughter myself and to have to break the news to a man that he's lost his daughter is something I hope I never have to do again."
In the parking lot where Lauren's car was found burning her sorority, Delta Gamma, held a vigil in her memory.
WSFA 12 News will continue to follow this story and bring you the very latest as it becomes available.