The family of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich is asking that his murder not be politicized, and said that rampant speculation is acting as an impediment to the investigation.
"Some are attempting to politicize this horrible tragedy, and in their attempts to do so are actually causing more harm than good and impeding on the ability for law enforcement to properly do their job," Brad Bauman, a spokesman for the 27-year-old's family, said in a statement.
"For the sake of finding Seth's killer, and for the sake of giving the family the space they need at this terrible time, they are asking for the public to refrain from pushing unproven and harmful theories about Seth's murder," Bauman said.
Rich, who worked on voter data at the DNC, was shot to death in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the early hours of July 8, with at least one shot fired in his back. The incident has been described as a potentially botched robbery, though nothing was taken from him. Police have no known leads in the case.
Wednesday's statement followed a $20,000 bounty announced Tuesday by WikiLeaks for information leading to a conviction in the case. "We treat threats toward any suspected source of WikiLeaks with extreme gravity," the organization said in an earlier statement of its own.
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However, it added, "This should not be taken to imply that Seth Rich was a source to WikiLeaks or to imply that his murder is connected to our publications."
WikiLeaks in July leaked approximately 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC's network. Cybersecurity firms traced at least two sets of hackers who breached the organization back to Russian actors with ties to that country's government. But WikiLeaks has not revealed its source, and speculation has circulated that an internal collaborator could have been involved with the leak. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suggested that the organization will be releasing more documents before November's election.
The bounty offered by WikiLeaks comes in addition to a $25,000 reward offered by D.C. police in the case. Politics aside, Bauman added that the family would welcome assistance finding the killer. "The family welcomes any and all information that could lead to the identification of the individuals responsible, and certainly welcomes contributions that could lead to new avenues of investigation."