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Va. Girl Is Identified by Skeletal Remains

Crime: Child of slain parents was shot in head. Focus is on man whose home had been searched.

October 05, 2002|From Associated Press

WENTWORTH, N.C. — Bone fragments and a skull found on a rural property are the remains of a 9-year-old girl who vanished after her parents were fatally shot in their home seven weeks ago, authorities said Friday.

Investigators said they have not made any arrests but would like to talk with a man whose rented house and mobile home in Rockingham County were recently searched.

Jennifer Short's remains were discovered Sept. 25 near a home in Stoneville, N.C., about 30 miles south of her home. She had been shot in the head, Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said.

Jennifer had been missing since Aug. 15, when her parents--Michael Short, 50, and Mary Short, 36--were found shot to death in their Bassett, Va., home. Investigators had said they believed the girl had been abducted by her parents' killer.

"The skeletal remains in Rockingham County have been determined to be a positive match with the DNA profile of Short and are hers," Page said.

The investigation and search for the little girl had been emotionally difficult, said Sheriff Frank Cassell of Henry County, Va.

"She's gone now and she's safe now and no evil can befall her," he said.

Tests by a lab in Roanoke, Va., showed Jennifer had been shot, Page said. Neither sheriff would say whether evidence indicated she had been raped.

"I am saddened. I am heartbroken for this little girl and her family," Cassell said. "But at least it's important for them to know she's not out there being abused or hurt."

Garrison Storm Bowman, a 60-year-old carpenter from Myodan, was last seen in the area the day after the Shorts were killed. Page said he is now in northwestern Canada, but the sheriff would not give a specific location.

Page said he wasn't certain whether Bowman was in custody but added, "We know where he's at, and we will be interviewing him at a later time."

Rockingham County sheriff's deputies seized nine maps, one of which was marked to show the location of the Shorts' home, on Saturday from the trailer east of Madison, according to court records. The house was searched in August.

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