Published 11:53 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Staff report

The Texas Department of Public Safety is seeking new leads and the public’s help in solving the 27-year-old case of Kathy Page, a Beaumont restaurant worker strangled in 1991 whose murder inspired the story behind the Oscar-winning film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

In an issued news release, DPS said Tuesday it has increased its reward to up to $6,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the crime if the tip is received before next month’s featured Texas Rangers cold case is announced.

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DPS gave these details about the case:

“On Tuesday morning, May 14, 1991, the body of 34-year-old Kathy Page was discovered by the Vidor Police Department inside her car. She had been strangled and the vehicle was positioned in a ditch in a staged attempt to conceal the murder as a car accident. The investigation revealed that at the time of her death, Page was recently separated from her husband of 13 years. She worked at a local restaurant in Beaumont.”

Page’s estranged husband, Steve, was never indicted or convicted of murder in the case but in 2000 he lost a civil case initiated by Kathy Page’s family, who were awarded a judgment, later affirmed, and $150,000. Kathy Page’s father, James Fulton, estimates he has spent perhaps $200,000 on billboards displayed on Interstate 10 that accused his former son-in-law of killing his daughter and accusing the Vidor Police Department of failing to investigate effectively or properly.

Vidor Police Chief Rod Carroll, who joined the department as chief in 2017, said Tuesday the Kathy Page murder remains an open case for his department, although he said investigators have never compiled enough sufficient evidence to get an indictment.

“We believe people know what happened,” Carroll said, adding there was a cover-up committed after the murder. Periodically, he says, the department receives tips.

Carroll said only recently he met the victim’s brother at an accident scene in Vidor.

He said people in Vidor are still aware of the case and interested in it. He said there is still a billboard about the case in Rose City.

The DPS Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help generate public interest in unsolved or “cold cases.” Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards — the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division provides the case, and the reward program is administered by DPS — of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website.

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

To be eligible, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).  All tips are anonymous.

Individuals also can submit information through the Texas Ranger cold case website or by contacting DPS Missing Persons Hotline at 1-800-346-3243.