Benefit Planned For Murdered Manager, Reward Doubled

By: Lindsey Rogers
By: Lindsey Rogers

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The outpouring of community support continues for a slain Topeka father as police continue their search for his killer.

Friends and even strangers are stepping forward to help with the investigation.

Matthew Hill, 41, was murdered Saturday afternoon while on duty at the Hudson Liquor Store on SE 15th Street. Hill was the manager.

According to police, the father of three was beaten with a pry bar, shot and robbed by a drunken man captured on surveillance cameras.

Officials say Hill was compliant during the robbery as the suspect came around the counter with a crow bar. He gave the robber money from the register and then was murdered.

The suspect is described as a white male about 6'1"-6'2", slender build and wearing multi-colored pajama pants. He was last observed running south from the business.

Officials say the area around the liquor store has been saturated with police officers- both in marked cars and others working in covert operations.

Captain Jerry Stanley, head of the TPD's Criminal Investigations Division, told members of the media that the department has received 60 tips on the suspect's identity- half of which came from the public providing police with possible names. He says detectives were locating the people named in the tips and bringing them in for questioning.

Matthew Hill's personal friend, Tommy Hendrickson, a local bail bondsman, is personally offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. Hendrickson says he's been contacted by a childhood friend of Matthew Hill in Denver who offered to double the reward, bringing it to $2,000.

A local band called the Rob Wade Band is adding to the reward, throwing a benefit concert for Hill Saturday night.

The band already had a gig planned for New Year’s Eve- a show that typically brings in a lot of money for them but they decided to donate it all to help a man they never knew.

"We've seen lately in the community there's been a lot of crimes going on and a lot of stuff not being solved. Maybe it's the economy but there's been an influx of crime going on and more murders happening. And here's a gentleman who passed away on Christmas Eve at work that has three kids and a family and we're not doing anything about it. We saw that a friend put up a $1,000 reward and I thought, we all have jobs and we're making it and this gentleman has his life taken away just like that. I called the rest of the band up and said this is something that is a great event, it's something local and it helps keep the story out there so that we can track down this suspect," said member Rob Waltman.

"New Year's Eve is a big money maker for our band and I was really hoping to use some of this extra money to buy an engagement ring for my girlfriend, stashing away a little bit of money but when Rob told me about this opportunity to make a sacrifice and to hopefully bring justice to what was done to Matthew, I thought about it for about two seconds and thought that that would be a great idea.
It's sad when something like this happens when you're trying to do your job and you die in the process of it. It's horrible. New Year's Eve is a good opportunity to make a lot of money and hopefully, we can use that money for the reward to help find the person that did this heinous act to Matthew," added Hudson Hamilton Jr., another band member.

"We want to keep this story alive, we want to keep it relevant and so we're hoping with this benefit this Saturday, that we can spark a fire in the community and get someone to come forward and tell the police who this gentleman was," Waltman said.

If the suspect is caught before the concert, Waltman says the band will give all of the proceeds to Hill's family.

The benefit concert will be held Saturday, December 31st, at The Dugout on SW Fairlawn Road in Topeka from 9 PM - 1 AM.

Funeral services will be held Friday and Saturday for Matthew Hill.

A visitation will be held for family and friends Friday from 6-8 PM at the Davidson Funeral Home on North Kansas Avenue in Topeka. A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 2 PM at the Davidson Funeral Home.

A fund has been set up for Matthew Hill's family at CoreFirst Bank. You can make donations at any branch to the Hill Girls' Trust Fund.


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