The new reward amount doubles the prior reward, noted the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. It said the reward money would come from the victim’s family and from the Morris County CrimeStoppers program.
Ezzeddine, 71, was found slain inside his Route 46 diner on May 28, 2011 “in the middle of Memorial Day weekend,” said the prosecutor’s office. He’d owned the establishment for about three decades, it added.
“Five years later, multiple law enforcement agencies remain committed to actively pursuing any and all information that may lead to an arrest,” said the prosecutor’s office. “At the same time, the Ezzeddine family continues to deeply mourn this horrific tragedy and the loss of their loved one.”
Anyone with information is being urged to call the prosecutor’s office’s major crimes unit at (973) 285-6200.
Four years ago, law enforcement officials described as a “person of interest” in the case a black man who was seen wearing light-colored shorts and a dark short-sleeved shirt at the time of the homicide. The man might have been driving a dark green Toyota Camry from the mid-1990s and he might not have been alone, said officials.
Authorities have described Ezzeddine as “a simple, hard-working family man, and a family patriarch, who left a rich and fulfilling life in Lebanon over 40 years ago, to come to the United States to be with the woman he loved - his wife, Amal.”
Ezzeddine came to America in 1971 “in hopes of someday being able to marry the woman he loved,” and told Amal that “someday he would send for her to come join him in the United States,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
That happened in 1972 when the Ezzeddines got married and “began a union marked by the struggle to not only earn a living, but to also assimilate into a new society, start a family, make new friends, and ultimately become productive members of the community they came to call home,” said the statement. “They dealt with the scrutiny of the family they left behind in Lebanon, knowing that their decision to leave their country to be together was brave, but not accepted. At the time, they knew in their hearts and minds that this was the only way they could be together.”
The Ezzeddines, with three sons at the time, bought the diner in 1983.
“For years, Steve worked tirelessly at the diner to provide for his family, consistently working 16-hour days, 7 days a week, up until the day of his murder,” said the prosecutor’s office. “Amal was there throughout it all, working countless hours in the diner alongside the love of her life.”
The family created an online tribute page to Ezzeddine.