ATLANTA — A big break in the case of a pastor killed last month helped police pick up the killer’s trail after a mother came forward with crucial information about a key piece of evidence.

Police told Channel 2’s Mark Winne that they have dramatically narrowed the timeline of the pastor’s killing from 48 hours to just a few hours after the pastor was shot, after learning who was driving the pastor’s stolen vehicle to the location where it was dumped.

Derek Moses was shot in the face on March 26 at his financial planning office in southwest Atlanta. The office is just down the block from Providence Missionary Baptist Church, where Moses served as an associate pastor.

Moses’ business partner, Coy Paschal, told Channel 2 that Moses, a tax preparer and financial planner, would’ve been busy today working on taxes or filing extensions if he hadn’t been killed last month.

Police said they found no signs of forced entry, and Moses’ four-door navy blue BMW 540i was the only thing missing from his office. Authorities found Moses’ stolen BMW on Montreat Avenue, 1.8 miles from the crime scene, two days after the killing. At that time, police indicated the leading theory was that Moses was killed to steal his car.

Now investigators have identified the individuals who left the car where it was recovered by police after the mother of one of them came forward. Investigators believe the people who dumped it were simply joyriders who picked the car up on Landrum Drive, where the killer or killers abandoned it Saturday afternoon, according to homicide Detective Summer Benton.

“This is a huge break in the investigation because we have been able to narrow down the time frame of when this vehicle was taken from Mr. Moses’ place of business and dropped off here,” said Benton.

Benton walked us through where the vehicle was recovered by police on Montreat Avenue and where investigators believe it was left by the killer or killers on Landrum Drive.

This new information about the vehicle narrows the crucial time frame from 48 hours after the murder to a mere hours before the joyriders picked up the abandoned vehicle.

Paschal said he hopes this new development in the investigation brings detectives closer to filing charges against whomever killed his friend and business partner of 20 years.

Nevertheless, police indicate this big break in the case opens up another big question as to what was the real motive for the killing.

Detective Benton asks that anybody who saw the vehicle, a 2002 navy blue BMW 540i with a golf tag, and its occupants on the morning of March 26 until the early afternoon should call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS. Benton said the reward is now up to $10,000.