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Harold William “Bill” Roland

DPS Offers Increased Reward, Seeks Leads in 1997 Cold Case

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public’s help in solving the disappearance of Harold William “Bill” Roland, and an increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible if the tip is received before next month’s featured Texas Rangers cold case is announced. (A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website.)

Harold William “Bill” Roland resided in Lufkin (Angelina County) and owned a lake house on Lake Sam Rayburn in neighboring San Augustine County. He was last seen in San Augustine County on July 21, 1997, after telling a witness that he planned to go fishing. Roland’s wife reported him missing the following morning. Roland’s pickup truck, pontoon boat and boat trailer were also missing. Over the next three months, Roland’s pickup truck was found burned in a rural area of Angelina County. Roland’s boat trailer was found abandoned in a National Forest in San Augustine County, and his pontoon boat was located hidden under willow trees on Lake Sam Rayburn. The pontoons on the boat had been shot, possibly in an attempt to sink the craft. Despite extensive searches and interviews, Roland has not been located, and investigators suspect that he was killed.

To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.

Individuals also can submit information through the Texas Ranger cold case website or by contacting us at 1-800-346-3243 (DPS Missing Persons Hotline).

The DPS Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help garner public interest in unsolved or “cold cases.” Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website.

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

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