The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever fatally stabbed musician Fred-Freak Smith in Las Palmas Park in San Fernando.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended the reward on Tuesday, Sept. 12, saying Smith — a respected, influential guitarist and singer-songwriter in heavy metal, punk and goth rock music — “paved the way for African-American musicians in the punk genre.”
Smith, 55, often visited the park where he was killed. On Aug. 8, he was found behind the park’s softball fields by Los Angeles Fire Department rescuers answering a cardiac arrest call. Smith had been stabbed in his neck and left to die in a pool of his own blood.
“Many families were in the park. Kids were practicing baseball in the nearby fields,” Kuehl said.
Detective Jorge Cervantes, one of the San Fernando officers working alongside the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau investigating Smith’s murder, said “there now could be people that will come out and be willing to talk to us” with the posting of the reward.
“This is still an ongoing investigation,” Cervantes said Wednesday. “But there are people out there who saw something and we need them to come forward. Obviously we want to talk to them.”
No suspect has yet been arrested.
Fred’s mother Deloris Smith, who lives in White Plains, MD, said Wednesday she had been informed about the reward by investigators.
“They still don’t know (who may be responsible),” Deloris Smith said. “They said [$10,000] was all they could do right now. So this is the beginning. The police, I know they’re busy but they do [update] me. They seem to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Smith, originally from Washington, D.C. and who played with prominent 1980s bands Beefeater and Strange Boutique had come out to California in the 1990s in an effort to revive his stalled career. In 2012, friends say he began to develop mental health issues, although he would resist acknowledging he needed help or seek treatment.
Smith had spent time living in the Blake House, a group home for those with mental disabilities, but left there a few months before his death, a person at the facility told the San Fernando Valley Sun. It was his last known address.