BONHAM, Texas (KXII) Saturday marks 16 years since Jennifer Harris disappeared. After months of work behind the scenes, a 48 Hours episode featuring her unsolved murder will air May 19 at 9 p.m. CT.
Her father, Jerry Harris, told News12 he’s not sure what will come of the show airing, but that the process of sharing Jennifer’s story with the rest of the nation is a comforting one.
"It hasn't gotten easier over the years but I've gotten to where I can deal with it a lot better,” Harris said.
28-year-old Jennifer was last seen alive on Mother's Day 2002.
Six days later, her body was discovered in the Red River.
"Her life was taken and disposed of at the hands of someone, I believe that she knew really well," Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson said. “Then it became a long haunting case for Fannin County that no one's ever solved."
Johnson took office in 2017. Jennifer's case remains front and center of his mind every day he comes into work.
"The question always comes to mind: how?” Johnson said. “How could something so important be so messed up?"
Contaminated evidence, or evidence missing altogether like her laptop.
Johnson admitted it looks suspicious.
“It’s gone. It’s not to be found. We got computers, cell phones, and things missing. Laptop computer and things that are not here. There was a question of an officer one time that was an investigator in the case that wanted to buy that laptop,” Johnson said. “And when he left nobody ever saw the laptop again."
But mainly mismanagement, that he attributes more to ego and inexperience.
Johnson told us he promised Jennifer's father he would bring in outside experts to give fresh life to the case, and began working with 48 Hours in March of last year.
They're both looking forward to Jennifer's case finally going national.
"It was a great relief to find out that it was finally done and it was going to be televised,” Harris said. "I'm grateful to 48 hours for doing the show."
"If you know anything I would ask that you come forward and help us solve this case,” Johnson said. “Help us solve this case. Put Jennifer's murder to rest once and for all and give her daddy Jerry Harris the peace that he needs in his heart."
Jennifer’s family and the Sheriff’s Office have combined forces to offer a $50,000 reward to bring her killer to justice. They’re now trying to raise that reward to $250,000.
You can find the link to help them attached to this story.