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Family Offers Reward in Unsolved Slaying

January 12, 1985

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A year after his sister was murdered, Andrew Solecki left Buffalo, N.Y., to spread the word in San Diego County that his family is willing to pay $10,000 for information that helps find her killer.

″We all know this is a longshot but we just can’t let this thing die. We don’t know what else to do other than the reward,″ said Solecki.

Accompanied by two younger sisters, Solecki, 32, arrived Sunday and spent the week stuffing fliers in mailboxes and dropping them off at businesses near the isolated rural road where Theresa Solecki’s body was found.

″A newspaper deliveryman found her under her car, naked, beaten up and strangled,″ Solecki said Tuesday.

He and his sisters - Irena Solecki, 23, of Buffalo, and Donna Solecki, 28, of Denver - spent 12 hours on the road that day, passing out the fliers that tell about the reward and give a description of their dead sister.

Theresa Solecki, at 29 the third-oldest child in a family of seven children, was killed Jan. 11, 1984, near Vista, about 10 miles north of San Diego.

The night she died, Theresa called her sister, Irena, who was living with her at the time, to say she was spending the night with a sick friend. Because her friend’s phone was out of order, Theresa drove to a nearby phone booth.

″She went down the hill to make a phone call ... and they found her 11/2 hours later seven miles out in the rural area,″ said Andrew Solecki.

″It’s been a year now and we haven’t gotten anybody under lock and key, so us brothers and sisters and mom and dad decided to put together the reward and find out who killed our sister,″ he said.

″At this point, they’ve (investigators) got some things to work with but they need that little piece of information - that one piece - to fit the puzzle,″ he said. ″Hopefully, we can find the person and bring him to justice.″

The sheriff’s department renewed its appeal to the public for help after the Soleckis arrived, and received a few calls, said homicide Sgt. Rick Figueroa.

″They’ve offered some information, but the information still has to be checked out,″ said Figueroa. He declined to say how many calls the department received or what the callers reported, but said he was optimistic the case would be solved.

Andrew Solecki, like his two sisters, took vacation time from his job to make the trip west. His last vacation was for Theresa’s funeral in Buffalo and a trip across the country to pack her belongings and take them and Irena back to Buffalo.

Even if the reward brings no new leads, Solecki says the 3,000-mile trip was worthwhile.

″We wanted to get the word out that we haven’t forgotten,″ he said as he and his sisters prepared for their Thursday departure. ″Terry was the first one of us to go. We took it pretty hard. I would think anybody would take it hard. We just don’t want anybody to go through what we went through.″

Theresa Solecki had lived in Southern California for about two years after moving from Buffalo. A bartender at the time of her death, she was hoping to start a career here in real estate.

″She came out west to make her fortune,″ her brother said. ″She never got to see her plans come true. But she would have. She was that kind of person.″

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