More than a decade later, family of Fannin County murder victim still looking for answers

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FANNIN COUNTY, Texas -- The family of Fannin County murder victim Jennifer Harris is speaking out. Harris was killed 13 years ago and her case is still unsolved. The investigative TV show "Cold Justice" wants to look at the cold case, but the Fannin County Sheriff's Office has refused to cooperate.

It's not just Harris' family that wants the show to take a look at this cold case. The Facebook page "Justice for Jennifer Harris" was created a few days ago, and has more than 2,000 supporters who also want answers. And more than 1,200 have signed an online petition, asking the Sheriff to reconsider.

But the Sheriff told News 12 over the phone that he has to do what he believes is right for the case, and he's not going to give the show access to the evidence.

"I thought it would be solved within six months," said Jerry Harris.

He says when he learned his daughter Jennifer had been murdered, he never thought he'd be standing here, 13 years later, still looking for answers.

"Oh I think about Jennifer every day," he said.

Mother's Day, 2002, Jennifer Harris went missing. Her car was abandoned at Lake Bonham.

Six days later, her naked body was found floating in the Red River.

"She had a definite plan to meet with someone at 8 o'clock Sunday May 12, and she knew who she was going to meet and she trusted that person, and they killed her," said her father.

Medical examiners couldn't pinpoint an exact cause of death, but stated in the autopsy report it was "violent" and "unnatural," and her uterus had somehow been removed.

Her family believes she thought she was pregnant because investigators found an opened container of pregnancy tests in her bathroom, "And her computer showed were she had looked up signs for pregnancy," said her uncle Jeff Schneider.

The TNT show Cold Justice reached out to the Harris family and wants to investigate Jennifer's cold case, but needs permission from Fannin County Sheriff Donnie Foster, who's refusing their help.

Foster says he wants to protect the integrity of the evidence, "For me to allow a TV show to come in, any further hopes of prosecuting this case may be lost," he said. He says numerous agencies have looked at the evidence and investigated over the years, including the Texas Rangers and the FBI. But he fears turning the evidence over to the show will taint it, "We will not try a case in the media that may be lost in the courtroom later because of carelessness," said Foster. He went on to say, "We have been entrusted with this evidence and this case. We will continue investigating it. I have to do what I feel in my heart is right." He also said the department is regularly checking on leads, and looked into a tip within the last six months.

But the Harris family believes the physical evidence was compromised a long time ago, by the Sheriff's Office, when the clothes Jennifer was wearing the night she disappeared, her keys, and her laptop mysteriously went missing from the evidence room.

Investigators said they recovered the clothes again in 2009. Our request to see that evidence has been denied.

Jerry Harris says he's still not given up hope of getting justice for Jennifer, "I'm not giving up because 13 years has gone by."



 
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