The reward for a tip that cracks the over eight-year-old unsolved slayings of Henry County’s (Virginia) Short family was increased to $100,000 today, reflecting “the desire to solve the case,” the Henry County sheriff said.
The boost in the reward, from the previous pot of $67,000, came from a $20,000 contribution from the FBI and $13,000 from the Henry County supervisors, Sheriff Lane Perry said at a news conference in Martinsville. Henry County contributed most of the earlier amount.
As members of the law enforcement task force investigating the slayings looked on, Perry held a giant facsimile of a $100,000 check and said, “”This is just representative of the desire to solve the case.”
Neither Perry nor other investigators would say whether probers have discovered a suspect or have made other progress.
The news conference came a few days before the eighth anniversary of one of Henry County’s most notorious unsolved killings.
On the morning of Aug. 15, 2002, an employee of Michael Short’s mobile home moving business went to his home in Oak Level and found the man lying in the garage, dead from a gunshot would to the head.
Inside the house was the body of Short’s wife, Mary, who had also been shot in the head with a .22-caliber weapon.
Missing was the couple’s daughter, 9-year-old Jennifer. About five weeks later, the girl’s remains were found beneath a highway bridge in Stoneville, N.C, 30-some miles to the south. She, too, had been shot in the head.
The case is being investigated by a task force made up of officers from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Rockingham County (N.C) Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Virginia State Police.
Last year, the task force released a composite sketch of a man seen near the Shorts’ home the morning the killings were discovered, along with a rendering of the flatbed truck he was driving.
In recent months, investigators have traveled to coastal South Carolina, where Michael Short was planning to move his family and business.