GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The reward offered in a Garden City murder case jumped by another $10,000 Friday morning.
In September 2019, Ernie Ortiz, 69, was found fatally wounded outside El Conquistador, a restaurant he owned for 39 years. Police believe he was shot during a robbery as he closed the business for the night. He died at the hospital.
His relatives believe someone has information that can unlock the case and bring them closure. So they became the first family to partner with Crime Stoppers of Garden City for a reward going to a specific case.
The family started a GoFundMe account through the Justice for Ernie Ortiz Facebook page. Last May, the reward was around $11,000. On Friday, thanks to a private donation of $10,000, it grew to $21,5000.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to that amount for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for killing Ortiz.
Last year, Ortiz’s murder was selected for the Kansas Cold Case Playing Cards program. The decks of cards featuring unsolved murders are being distributed in Kansas jails and prisons, hoping that inmates may share information pertinent to the cases.
The family says Ortiz lived in Garden City all his life. He was a musician whose skill spanned a variety of genres. A family spokesperson said Ortiz was the renowned leader of Los Hermanos Ortiz y Amigos.
The family says Ortiz was also a respected businessman and community leader. In addition, he was dedicated to his church, hometown, and Garden City youth.
“The role he played in the Ortiz family was unmatched as he was often referred to as both the ‘favorite’ uncle and cousin. He is dearly missed,” the spokesperson said.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Garden City Police Department at 620-276-1300. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 620-275-7807 or text their tip to Garden City PD, text GCTIP, and to Tip411 (847411).