$62K reward offered for information about 2002 Short family murders, Henry County authorities say

Southeast Region

HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Nearly 20 years after the Short family murders, the Henry County and Martinsville communities are offering more than $60,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

On Aug. 15, 2002, Michael Short was found dead on a couch in the attached garage of the family’s Bassett home while Mary Short was found dead in the bedroom, both of them shot in the head.

However, the couple’s daughter, 9-year-old Jennifer Short, was missing. Investigators said she was taken from her bed, sparking a massive search in both Virginia and North Carolina.

Six weeks later, Jennifer’s body was found in a North Carolina creek, 45 minutes away from her home.

More than 19 years later, Sheriff Lane Perry of Henry County announced on Thursday, Oct. 14 that he assembled a multi-agency task force to review the ongoing investigation into the murders of the Short family.

“Through the passing of time most of the original investigators have retired or left law enforcement. The task force will be bringing new investigators up to speed with the case and looking for information that may lead to a suspect,” the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Thursday. “They will be reviewing case in its entirety. This review will include the physical evidence to determine if advancements in forensic technology may be able to develop a suspect.”

Officials say the task force includes personnel from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Virginia State Police, and the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, each of whom will provide investigative assistance and resources.

In Thursday’s announcement, Perry also thanked the community for never allowing this case to be forgotten.

“We believe there is someone out there who has information that may solve this case,” the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said. “We encourage people to come forward with that information no matter how small it may seem.”

According to authorities, Henry County and the Martinsville –Henry County Crimestoppers are currently offering a reward of $62,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the Short family members’ deaths.

If you have any information about this investigation, you are asked to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). 

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