Administrator/True Crime Author
Donna G. Smith

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Jennifer Renee Short Case: Virginia & North Carolina

Some cases just seem to tug at your heart. I guess when they hit so close to home it’s even worse. I just happen to be one of those who live close enough to be profoundly affected by this case, about half way between Bassett VA. and Rockingham County NC.

Jennifer's parents, Michael and Mary Short, were found shot to death in their Oak Level home in Bassett, Virginia on August 15, 2002. They had both been shot once in the head. Their daughter, Jennifer Renee 9, was missing. Police originally thought she ran away from the house, but when she was not found quickly, they realized the killer(s) of her parents must have abducted her.
On September 25, Jennifer's skeletal remains were located beneath a bridge on Grogan Rd., in Rockingham County, NC. Jennifer had died from a single bullet wound to the head. As of April 2004, the murders of the Short family remain unsolved.

FBI UPDATED Information from Crime Watch Daily. With photos of suspect vehicle and composite
Jennifer Renee Short Update

UPDATE: Information on one person of interest: Short Case Investigators say, person of interest, Garrison Bowman was found dead December 25, 2014. He died of natural causes. There was never any actual proof of wrong doing on his behalf. They were interested in him due to the fact he lived only a few miles from where Jennifer's body was found and he had left the US for Canada the day after the murders. There was never a connection made between the Short Family and Bowman.


  1. Anonymous2:24 PM

    The person or persons responsible for these murders need to be brought to justice! It has gone unsolved for too long. Maybe if the police officers hadn't been so caught up in their own misdoings they could have brought the those responsible to justice by now!

  2. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Have there been any updates to this case? At all? It's 2008...are there any leads?

    Is this a situation where they think they know who did it but can't put together a strong enough case...or is there just nothing?

  3. Anonymous11:28 PM

    It has been almost six years since this horrific massacre occurred. SOMEONE must know something about this case. I pray they will find the courage to do the right thing and come forward.
    I have not lived in Martinsville in almost fifteen years and when I drive by the home of Jennifer and her family…I cry. It breaks my heart to think of what she may have had to endure prior to her death.
    God, forgive me for saying this…but I hope the person or persons responsible for this ROT IN HELL for the unforgivable crimes they have committed.
    Our God is a forgiving God. However, let’s not forget “Vengeance is mine said the Lord”.

    Now a Raleigh Girl

  4. Anonymous5:30 AM

    I went to school with Jennifer Short. I remember thinking she was alive the whole time and that we could find her. Us who were at Figsboro when she was found I know remember giving out those yellow ribbons and praying she would be found in time. I can perfectly remember the day my friend in 3rd grade called me and told me what happened. I didn't believe her. The I turned on the local news and was horrified by what I saw. I'm seventeen now and a high school graduate but I still remember the video they showed on the news when they thought she was still alive. The one of Jenn jumping on a trampoline with a bunch of other girls whose faces were blurred out. I was one of those girls blurred out. I remember the police a our school. I remember her. I remember the day I got in my mom's car and heard that she had been dead the whole time, just like her parents. Her being "missing" was a diversion made by her and her family's murderer to keep us looking for Jennifer, not him/her. It haunts me to this day to know that their killer is still out there living life when Jenn didn't even get past 2002.. Please someone solve this horrible crime. Please.

    1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your young friend. I too hope they find her killer.

  5. Anonymous10:07 PM

    it was just on americas most wanted less than an hour ago. its 2011, time for this person to be caught.

  6. Anonymous5:07 PM

    After all this time, solving seems hopeless. I feel that some or someone knows who might have done this, but proof is something else.
    I feel that a pedophile did this during a psychol. breakdown, someone who might otherwise stay in control. I think the single shot small caliber to the heads of parents is significant. It was obviously not a crime of passion involving money or revenge because neither was tied or otherwise abused, as far as we the public know. Also the one small caliber bullet for each did not ABSOLUTELY insure death or inability to communicate or i.d. the killer in some way. If the parent(s) had been the main target for purpose of robbery or revenge, the killer would have made certain, wouldn't he?
    Therefore, I think his main goal was to get out of the house with the little girl.
    If someone knows a man possibly still in his forties, esp. around the Bassett, Martinsville, Danville area, who attaches himself to a family with a young girl and tends to hug, especially hug fiercely or too tight, or if he just makes you umcomfortable, you should take care of your family!

  7. Me and Jennifer grew up together spent every summer together she was my best friend in the entire world it still kills me today knowing they still ain't caught the person or persons responsible for this like Really it's been 12 years and still no closer it's kills me everyday knowing that who ever done it is still at large

    1. I too worry that her killer is still at large and possibly still killing others. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend Jon.

  8. Anonymous8:17 AM

    What happened to the original suspect? He probably has the answers .he had too many odd connections and why did he flee to canada if he was innocent

    1. I still have a lot of suspicion about that man!