HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Henry County Sheriff’s Office is hoping new technology can help them get more answers about the Short family murders. Sheriff Wayne Davis says DNA from the case is being re-tested with what he says is the “most advanced DNA technology in the world.”
Twenty-one years is how long family, friends, and Henry County community members have gone with no definite answers as to who killed the Short family.
Michael and Mary Short were found in their home in Oak Level off route 220, each with a single gunshot wound. It has been described as “execution-style.”
Their nine-year-old daughter Jennifer, was found dead in a creek, six weeks later across the border in North Carolina.
The Henry County Sheriff said they will not give up in trying to find their killer.
“The Jennifer Short case is active; we have people here at the sheriff’s office who are working on it regularly,” said Sheriff Wayne Davis.
Sheriff Davis said in an unrelated press conference earlier this week, that there is an investigator working on this case, at all times.
“As we speak the evidence in the short case is being retested with the most advanced DNA testing in the world,” said Sheriff Davis.
Advanced DNA testing has proven successful in several other cold cases according to director of forensic sciences at Liberty University, Tom McClintock.
He says modern DNA testing only needs a small amount of evidence for accurate results.
“10 to 20 years ago you would need a large amount of DNA in a sample to generate a perfect profile, now again, with the scientific instrumentation being so sensitive, you don’t need very many cells to generate a complete profile,” said McClintock.
McClintock said some modern tests can provide accurate results in just a matter of days. They can even create an entire profile image of the person from just a tiny sample.
He says even in long-standing cases, such as the Short family murders, DNA testing can still prove beneficial even more than 20 years later.
“As long as you have stored the sample in a favorable and environmental condition, DNA can last forever,” said McClintock.
He also adds that DNA testing can be used to help determine things like cause and time of death which can assist in investigations.