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Keeping hope alive: Sprints driver helps spread word about unsolved deaths

| Friday, May 30, 2003

BUFFALO TOWNSHIP: Roger Bennett wants racing fans to take a long, hard look at his Sprints car.

Maybe one of them could help solve a murder.

On the top wing of his No. 444 car, the Evan City native has an advertisement asking for information about the deaths of two 15-year-old Forward Township boys.

The plea for help is accompanied by a $17,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the death of Shawn Baur.

Baur and friend Scott Fosnaught were found on Cashdollar Road, about two miles of their homes in Forward, by a passerby around 1:30 a.m. July 17.

Fosnaught was pronounced dead at the scene, and Baur died of head injuries a short time later at a Pittsburgh hospital.

State police are unsure how Baur and Fosnaught were killed, however a hit-and-run is suspected.

Rodney Kniess, a friend of the Baurs, was frustrated by a lack of progress in the case. Kniess, also friends with Bennett, asked the driver to place the advertisement on his car.

Bennett agreed to put the information on the top wing, a prime area for ads, at a reduced rate. Bennett and Baur have been friends since high school.

"I think it will help out," said Bennett, 40. "I've known Barry for a long time. He wants to keep his son's story going. He wants to keep it fresh in everyone's minds."

Barry Baur, his wife Particia and the Fosnaughts want some answers to help deal with the tragedy.

"That's the hard part, not having answers," Barry Baur said. "If we could have that, we would be in better shape."

In addition to the race car ad, family members and friends have placed banners in yards and held a news conference at the graves of Shawn Baur and Scott Fosnaught.

Barry Baur maintains faith that some day he will have the answers he is looking for.

"I have no doubt," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind, we will find out who did it."

Baur is pleased with how police have been "relentless" in their pursuit of information for the case. The reward money was raised by friends and placed in a bank in Evans City.

Bennett said the ad has caught the eye of numerous newspapers and television news shows.

"It's has received a whole lot of publicity, which is what we wanted," Bennett said.

The fact Bennett is doing well on the track and enjoying one of his best seasons ever at Lernerville also has helped put the ad in the spotlight.

Bennett is second in the Lernerville Sprints points race, behind Apollo's Ed Lynch Jr. Last year, Bennett finished seventh.

He has two third-place feature finishes and has a fifth and sixth place in a feature and one heat win.

Still, the death of his friend's child has put racing and it rewards into perspective for Bennett.

"I can't imagine what they are going through," Bennett said of the boys' parents. "It's been too long. They need some answers." Additional Information:

How to help

Those with information regarding the death of Shawn Baur and/or Scott Fosnaught should call the state police in Butler at 724-284-8100 .

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