Cold case: $30k reward offered for information in 1990 car bomb death of Long Island detective

Long Island
Detective Wustenhoff

PATCHOGUE, NY — Police tripled the reward for information leading to an arrest in the 1990 killing of a Suffolk County detective killed by a car bomb in front of his own home.

Detective Dennis Wustenhoff, a narcotics detective, died on Feb. 15, 1990 in in North Patchogue. His family told PIX11 they believe the bomb inside the unmarked Cadillac Eldorado was meant to detonate on Valentine’s Day.

Melissa Wustenhoff-Scelsi told PIX11’s Mary Murphy her dad had taken off that day to attend a father-daughter dance with her.

“He didn’t get to dance with me at my wedding, but I’m grateful we had that last night together,” she said.

When the bomb went off the next day, Detective Wustenhoff lived for three more hours, his daughter said.

“He knew he was dying,” Wustenhoff-Scelsi said.

The detectives insides were “obliterated,” son Kevin Wustenhoff said.

“Every major organ was affected,” Wustenhoff, now an officer himself, said.

The detective’s family launched a Facebook group to get justice for him.

The reward for information leading to an arrest was set to $30,000.

Last year, Commissioner Geraldine Hart asked the FBI to review at the case.

“Detective Wustenhoff’s family, along with colleagues from the department, deserve justice in this case,” Hart said at the time.

Anyone with information can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing the P3 Tips mobile app, or online at All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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