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Donor boosts reward for information in 2007 Derry Township killing

Paul Peirce
| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 10:04 a.m.
Samantha Lang, 22, was slain in March 2007 at her home in Peanut, Westmoreland County.
Samantha Lang, 22, was slain in March 2007 at her home in Peanut, Westmoreland County.

Carol Polo has been grieving since the brutal murder in 2007 of her daughter, Samantha Joann Lang, but a surprise call Wednesday from a state trooper raised her spirits.

“I was so happy it actually made me cry,” Polo said.

Trooper Robert Harr, an investigator in the Greensburg barracks, called Polo with word that an anonymous donor had stepped forward and raised the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in her 22-year-old daughter's death to $20,000 from $5,000.

The $15,000 contribution is good for 180 days.

Polo believes the new reward — even 5 12 years after the murder — means authorities are closer to finally learning who slashed her daughter's throat on March 27, 2007, leaving her to bleed to death in her Derry Township home.

“Money does talk. And it makes you feel good that people are still talking and thinking about Sam,” Polo said. “I think about Sam every single day.”

Immediately after she spoke to Harr, Polo telephoned a printer to produce posters and banners announcing the increased reward. “I believe there is someone out there who knows something that could help state police,” said Polo of Latrobe.

Lang was discovered dead at about 9 p.m. in the home at 5397 Route 982, where she lived with her father and brother. A family friend who stopped by discovered Lang's body on the floor between the kitchen and living room in a pool of blood, according to police.

Police said the house was a known hub of “drug activity” in the village of Peanut.

Samantha's father, James C. Lang Jr., and her brother, James III, both were incarcerated in the Westmoreland County Prison at the time of the slaying. Polo and James Lang divorced in 1999.

Samantha Lang, a 2004 graduate of Greater Latrobe High School, had started a job at Laurel Nursery in Unity the week she died. She was taking courses at the Western School of Business in Monroeville to become a paralegal.

On the day she was killed, police noted “a strong smell of marijuana” inside the one-story home, according to a search warrant affidavit. The house appeared to have been ransacked. A rear door apparently had been forced open, and a gray metal safe was left on a bed. A metal lock box was found on a back porch.

Police found Lang's cellphone near her body.

State police spokeswoman Steve Limani said yesterday the Lang case remains “an active investigation.”

Limani said police have received no solid tips recently, but the reward could entice someone with information to finally come forward.

“Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money,” he said.

Polo wants the killer to know the case has not been abandoned.

“I'm definitely going to put a banner up right along the highway so he knows people are still working on it. I hope this makes somebody come forward with information ... any information,” Polo said.

Limani said anyone with information should call Harr at 724-832-3256.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or

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