The FBI was not able to determine if arson was responsible for the destruction of a mosque in Joplin, Missouri earlier this month, authorities said.
"[FBI] investigators completed several days of an extensive scene examination," an FBI memo released Thursday said. "At this time, the official cause of the fire is undetermined."
"A finding of undetermined does not mean that a fire investigation is closed," the memo added. "If additional information is developed, this finding can be changed. Investigators are actively following all leads and request the public to report any information about the fire."
The destruction of the Islamic Center of Joplin, in Jasper County Missouri, on August 6 came just a month after security cameras caught video of a man deliberately setting fire to the building. However, the FBI says it is too early to determine if these two incidents are related.
"Law enforcement remains committed to investigating the attempted arson of July 4, the identification of the suspect depicted in the surveillance video, and the continued investigation into the fire on August 6," the FBI memo added.
The suspect, a stocky white male with short, dark hair, has not yet been apprehended. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are offering a $15,000 reward to anyone with information about the perpetrator and a $25,000 reward for leads in the August 6 fire.
At the time of the fire, authorities confirmed the center "sustained a total loss" but that the premises were empty and therefore no one was injured.
The Joplin mosque provided a worshiping site for around 50 local families. Since its destruction, the congregants have raised $400,000 - over $150,000 than needed - the rebuild the mosque. Relief organization Islamic Circle of North America also donated 50 backpacks filled with school supplies for the mosque's child members.
by RTT Staff Writer
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