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Community hopes for peace as Henry County takes another look at Short family murders

Questions surrounding the death of the Short family weigh heavily on the minds of friends and family every day

The impact of the Short family murders shook not only the Henry County community but also communities across Virginia and North Carolina.
The impact of the Short family murders shook not only the Henry County community but also communities across Virginia and North Carolina.

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – On Thursday, the Henry County sheriff announced a new task force is taking another look into a case that’s gone unsolved for nearly two decades: the murders of the Short family.

The impact shook not only the Henry County community but across Virginia and North Carolina. For the first time in 19 years, family friends say it feels like they have a shot at finding peace.

“It’s got hard on them,” friend Ray Reynolds says. “This not being solved, it’s really hard on the family.”

Questions surrounding the death of the Short family weigh heavily on the minds of friends and family every day, including long-time neighbor Reynolds who remembers the last day he saw them.

“It was a little convenience store. We’d always stop to get food and groceries,” he says. “Just that night I saw her in there with her dad. They were getting something to eat. Everything was normal.”

Not even 24 hours later, Michael and Mary were found shot in their home off Route 220 in Henry County, and their nine-year-old daughter Jennifer was missing.

Six weeks later, her body was found over the North Carolina border in Rockingham County.

“We thought she’d be found safe,” Reynolds says. “Had no idea they would find remains. No one was prepared for that, no one.”

After 20 years, Reynolds wonders if he’ll ever really know what happened to the Short family that night. But as news of investigators taking a new look at the case spreads through the town, so does hope.

“Did a lot of damage to our community,” Reynolds says. “If this was solved it would be this biggest healing process we’ve went through.”

A $62,500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call the sheriff’s office.


About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.