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Father who spent 22 years looking for daughter's killer shoots himself outside sheriff’s office

Father who spent 22 years looking for daughter's killer shoots himself outside sheriff’s office

Jerry Harris searched for his daughter's killer for more than 20 years

Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide which some readers may find distressing.

A man who'd spent more than 20 years searching for his daughter's murderer has killed himself.

76-year-old Jerry Harris searched for answers around the person who killed his daughter, Jennifer Harris, for 22 years after her body was found washed up on a river bank.

The 28-year-old from Texas had last been seen alive on May 12, 2002, and her green Jeep was found abandoned by the side of the road.

Jennifer's body was found by fisherman in the Red River six days later, unclothed and decomposing, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Investigators later ruled that Jennifer's death was a homicide, but authorities were never able to track down who was responsible for her death.

According to Fannin County Sheriff’s Office, Jerry Harris, a former US Marine and veteran of the Vietnam War, shot himself in the parking lot in Bonham on Tuesday at about 9:30am.

Officials say that Mr Harris left three notes behind - with one being addressed to Sheriff Johnson, as per KXII.

In his letters, Harris spoke of his health issues, adding that suicide was his choice.

Jennifer Harris was found dead in 2002. (CBS News)
Jennifer Harris was found dead in 2002. (CBS News)

He also wrote that his death had nothing to do with his daughter's unsolved case and he'd chosen the sheriff's office to make it easy for first responders.

The father had hoped for 22 years to bring the person who had killed his daughter to justice.

Private investigator Jim Holloway, who worked on the case, told KXII that he is hopeful that the case will be re-examined now that the county has a new sheriff, district attorney, and district judge.

Speaking about Harris, Holloway said: “I just remember him being so sad and broken down over this that he just didn’t know who to turn to.

“He was just bewildered, this ate up with sadness and sorrow.

"He told me one time, he said, I hope they do solve it before I die."

And new sheriff-elect Cody Shook has confirmed that the department will be reviewing all cold cases with the help of modern technology.

Jennifer's death was ruled a homicide, but her killer was never found. (CBS News)
Jennifer's death was ruled a homicide, but her killer was never found. (CBS News)

He told the outlet: "All families deserve closure regarding their loved ones.

"And I look forward to having access to the cases and seeing if there are any investigative options that can be applied."

UNILAD has contacted Fannin County Sheriff's Office for further comment.

The case came to national recognition in the US following a show on CBS' 48 Hours in 2018.

In the program, it was claimed that Sheriff Mark Johnson had promised to continue the investigation into Jennifer's murder.

Unfortunately, the case was disrupted after evidence was mishandled, The Independent reports.

In 2022, Johnson said that there was still not enough evidence to convict someone.

“There’s not anything to directly connect someone to that murder." he said.

“We all have our suspicions and beliefs to who it is, but without facts, you can’t say, 'you’re the one'.”

If you or someone you know is struggling or in a mental health crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 or chat You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741

Featured Image Credit: CBS News

Topics: News, US News, Crime