Payment of $50,000 made for tip in Lucas Shortreed cold case

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Police say the Province of Ontario has paid $50,000 for a tip that helped solve the investigation into the death of Lucas Shortreed.

Close to midnight on a Friday in October of 2008, Lucas was walking eastbound on the shoulder of Wellington Road 17 after leaving an Alma party when he was struck by a white Dodge Neon that fled the scene.

Lucas was pronounced dead shortly after. He was just 18 years old.

News of arrests in 2022 shook the community and jarred family and close friends since resigned they would never find out who was responsible.

The new detail about the $50,000 reward payment was announced on the OPP’s website in a Jan. 4 post that appears to replicate news media reporting.

No additional details or background about the reward are provided, as the OPP post largely reiterates what local journalists have reported in recent years.

As the Advertiser reported at the time, police announced the financial incentive during a 2009 press conference, having “exhausted the majority of their leads.”

Then Wellington OPP Inspector Scott Smith announced the “reward to assist in the identification, apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Lucas Shortreed.”

Lucas’ grandfather, Gerald Shortreed, helped pay for banners, posters and billboards advertising the reward in bold, white letters accompanied by a photo of Lucas, and an appeal for information.

One such poster was plastered onto the side of a trailer owned by Arthur-based Ivan Armstrong Trucking, and driven around the province.

Smith said at the time he hoped the approach would broaden the reach of information in the case.

The public appeal for information was renewed at a press conference in 2013, when Lucas’ mother, Judie Moore, appeared beside Gerald and then OPP inspector Scott Lawson.

A poster advertising the reward on the Armstrong trailer is seen behind the group in an Advertiser file photo.

The OPP even borrowed a white Dodge Neon owned by the Halliburtons, who would later be convicted in relation to the hit-and-run, to represent the vehicle involved.

A solid tip finally arrived in 2022, allowing police to get a warrant to search the Mapleton property that belonged to Dave and Anastasia Halliburton (the property has since been sold).

Police secretly checked out a large, stationary trailer on the property in search of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run.

While later executing a warrant on Sept. 21, police seized the heavily-damaged white Dodge Neon they had been searching for since 2008. It had been stored behind a false wall in the trailer.

The Halliburtons pleaded guilty to charges related to the hit-and-run itself, and the subsequent police investigation, and the couple was sentenced in Guelph court on Sept. 26.

Speaking with the Advertiser following the sentencing, Moore likened the journey to an “emotional marathon” but said the family had at last had their day in court.