FBI offers $300K reward 20 years after train derailment

It was nearly 20 years ago that someone sabotaged the train tracks in a remote area west of Phoenix, causing an Amtrak train to derail.

On October 9, 1995 at 1:35 a.m., 70 miles outside of Phoenix, tragedy struck.

An Amtrak passenger train named the Sunset Limited, which was carrying 258 people, was purposely derailed.

"Over 100 passengers were injured -- 12 seriously and our employee Mitchell Bates was killed.. I stand here representing his Amtrak family who then and now were stricken and outraged by this senseless loss of life," said Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson.

Hanson, along with the FBI announced a $310,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for what they describe as a sophisticated criminal act.  The investigation into which was always ongoing, but now there's new hope.

"We've interviewed hundreds of people we believe out of those individuals.. we think they have additional information they have not come forward with yet," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Cwynar.

19 spikes and a tie bar were removed from the tracks.  The investigating agencies strongly believe the suspect or suspects were familiar with the remote desert terrain and had extensive knowledge with the railroad system.

The reward money is an incentive for someone to come forward.

"We're very close.  We are watching and we will bring you to justice," said Cwynar.

The FBI has set up a special account and they're asking anyone who knows anything to contact them directly at aztrainderailment@ic.fbi.gov.  They're trying to make it as easy as possible for people to come forward.
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