A City of Poughkeepsie church has offered a reward in the hit-and-run death of an 18-year-old city woman who was a member there, officials said.
The Beulah Baptist Church has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the death of Poughkeepsie High School student Shequila Brown, according to a statement released Tuesday from the office of city mayor John Tkazyik.
"Shequila was born and grew up in our church," the Rev. Jesse Bottoms, the Catharine Street church's pastor, said in a statement, also released Tuesday. "Our church family has been traumatized by this event and we would like to help the police department in its investigation to make sure that justice is done."
A call to Bottoms on Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Brown was struck about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday while walking along the eastbound arterial (Church Street) near St. Mary's Church, just east of South Hamilton Street.
Responding officers found Brown critically injured on the road at 8:44 p.m. She was later declared dead at Saint Francis Hospital in the Town of Poughkeepsie.
An autopsy by the Dutchess County medical examiner determined Brown died of "multiple blunt impact trauma."
Leads have been scarce in the case and police have made repeated appeals to the public for information. The vehicle that struck Brown may be "a red SUV or pickup-type vehicle ... but that is not certain," police said in a statement Tuesday.
Brown, a senior at Poughkeepsie High, was interested in studying criminal law at Marist College. She participated in the high school's college-prep program in conjunction with Marist and was a member of the school's "Sister 2 Sister" personal development program and its Gay-Straight Alliance.
A vigil at the site of her death Friday night drew more than 100 people, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.
"The family of Shequila, her friends and the community at large deserve some closure and that will never be accomplished until the person responsible for her death is apprehended," Tkazyik said in a statement. "I implore anyone that may have any information, regardless of how insignificant they feel it may be, to report it to the ... police."
Information on the case can be reported to city police at 845-451-4000 or the tips line at 845-451-7577.