- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 5, 2002

WENTWORTH, N.C. Bone fragments and a skull found on a rural property are the remains of a 9-year-old Virginia girl who vanished after her parents were fatally shot in their home seven weeks ago, authorities said yesterday.
Investigators said they have not made any arrests in the death of Jennifer Short and her parents but would like to talk with a man whose rented house and mobile home in Rockingham County were recently searched.
Jennifer's remains were discovered Sept. 25 near a home in Stoneville, N.C., about 30 miles south of the Short home in Basset, Va.
She had been missing since Aug. 15, when the bodies of her parents Michael Short, 50, and Mary Short, 36 were found in their home. Investigators had said they believed the girl had been abducted.
"The skeletal remains in Rockingham County have been determined to be a positive match with the DNA profile of Short and are hers," Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said.
Jennifer had been shot in the head, he said. Neither he nor Sheriff Frank Cassell of Henry County, Va., would say whether evidence indicated she had been raped or otherwise assaulted.
Jennifer's surviving relatives were notified of the test results late yesterday morning.
"I am saddened. I am heartbroken for this little girl and her family," Sheriff Cassell said. "But at least it must be important for them it is for me to know she's not out there somewhere being abused or hurt. She's safe; she's gone but there's closure now."
Sheriff Page said authorities do not have a suspect in the killings but want to interview Garrison Storm Bowman, a 60-year-old carpenter from Mayodan, in western Rockingham County. He was last seen in the area the day after the Shorts were killed; Sheriff Page said he is now in Canada.
"He has not been listed as a suspect, but we do need to talk to him. We know where he's at, and we will be interviewing him at a later time," Sheriff Page said.
Authorities seized nine maps, one of which was marked to show the location of the Shorts' home, last Saturday from Mr. Bowman's trailer. A house he rented was searched in August.
An affidavit accompanying search warrants said Mr. Bowman had threatened to kill a man in Virginia in a dispute over moving the mobile home from one site to another in Rockingham County, two newspapers reported yesterday. Michael Short owned and operated a mobile-home moving business in Virginia.
The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., and the Roanoke Times cited court records that showed that police seized mattresses, cushions, blankets, sheets, samples of hair, a vacuum cleaner and telephone records from the trailer and sought phone records to establish whether Mr. Bowman had ever called the Shorts.
The search of the mobile home was the second time Rockingham County deputies seized items from a residence of Mr. Bowman. The home he rented northwest of Mayodan was searched Aug. 18, according to the court documents.
The documents said the man who rented that house to Mr. Bowman, Gary Lemons, told deputies that he noticed Mr. Bowman constructing a false floor in his van Aug. 12.
He also said Mr. Bowman told him about the dispute with the Virginia man. Mr. Lemons told authorities that he last saw Mr. Bowman on Aug. 15. The next day, he discovered that the house was empty and the mobile home was gone, according to the court documents.

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