A series of anonymous tips has led to the arrest of a 46-year-old Stafford, Va., man in an unsolved murder that had baffled Northern Virginia investigators for more than three years.
Fairfax County police credited the county's Crime Solvers program, which offers $1,000 rewards for information leading to the solution of crimes, with contributing to the arrest in the slaying of truck driver Ernest Edward Huff. They said it was the first murder case in which a suspect has been charged with the aid of the program.
On a blustery Wednesday in October 1977 Huff, 43, a septic tank truck driver for a Sterling, Va., firm, left his Herndon home and was never seen alive again.
A week later his body was discovered in a field off Clifton Road near the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Fairfax County, police said. A medical examiner reported that Huff died from a shotgun blast to the face and had probably been dead for seven days.
Investigators turned up no tangible leads for more than three years. But a week after Fairfax police listed the case in the Crime Solvers program, they received three anonymous telephone calls from persons claiming to have details about the slaying.
After another three months, police yesterday charged Clarence G. Hogan of the Crystal Lake Mobile Home in Stafford with murdering Huff. Hogan, described as an acquaintance of Huff, was already being held in the Stafford County jail on an unrelated charge, according to police spokesman Warren Carmichael.
Investigative sources said a possible motive for the slaying was "an apparent quarrel over a mutual girlfriend."
Fairfax police indicated that a $1,000 reward may be divided among the three anonymous tipsters.
Loudoun County policy are seeking at least one more suspect and a possible witness to the slaying.
Both Loudoun and Stafford officials declined comment on the case, saying the investigation was incomplete.