MORE THAN 15 YEARS AFTER A WOMAN WAS FOUND FLOATING IN A RIVER, A FILMMAKER AND A MARINE THINK THEY CAN FIND HER KILLER
"48 Hours" Investigates in "Murder on Red River"
Saturday, May 19, 10:00 PM, ET/PT
More than 15 years after a Texas woman was found dead, floating in a river, a former Marine and a filmmaker think they can find her killer. Will they be able to solve a cold case that has haunted her small Texas town since Mother's Day 2002?
Jim Axelrod and 48 HOURS investigate the murder of Jennifer Harris and the search for clues to what happened to her in "Murder on Red River," to be broadcast Saturday, May 19 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. One of the coldest investigations in Fannin County, Texas, with only a couple of initial suspects and no arrests, the case has hung over the town of Bonham since she was killed.
Harris was 28 when she disappeared on May 12, 2002. Her Jeep was found abandoned on the side of the road. Six days later, a fisherman found her nude body floating in the Red River. Police also learned that Harris had told at least one other person she was pregnant. Initially, police reached out to the two men in her life - James Hamilton, her ex-boyfriend, and Rob Holman, her ex-husband. Both denied seeing her the night she disappeared. Both have denied being involved in the murder, and neither has been arrested or charged with any crime related to Harris' murder.
The case grew cold and along the way became part of the Bonham, Texas folklore - and its rumor mill.
In 2017, then newly elected Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson made good on a campaign promise to take a second look.
"When I came here Jan. 1 and took over, I demanded that case be brought to me," Johnson says.
What he found was limited information and some evidence that had been damaged and destroyed by water getting into a storage pod. Johnson says he believes other evidence may have been mishandled.
Daryl Parker, a former sheriff's lieutenant and Marine, is now a private investigator working with Harris' family to find answers.
"If anything happens in this case, rain or shine, any time of day, I'm on it," Parker says.
Also trying to solve the case is Barry Wernick, a filmmaker married to Harris' sister, Alyssa. He began working on the project two years ago. He says he's done interviews with people who were not interviewed by law enforcement early on, and he is following up on any leads he gets.
"Finding the killer and actually being able to prove who the killer is, will that actually be able to provide closure? Well, yeah, for my family, it will," says Wernick.
"It doesn't get any easier," says Alyssa Wernick. "There's not one day that I don't wake up and think about my sister."
Will Parker, Wernick or Sheriff Johnson be able to solve the Jennifer Harris case?
Axelrod and 48 HOURS investigate the case through interviews with Harris' friends and family, investigators and others.
48 HOURS: "Murder on Red River" is produced by Marcelena Spencer and Dena Goldstein. Claire St. Amant is the development producer. Richard Barber, Ken Blum and Greg Kaplan are the editors. Patti Aronofsky is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
Follow 48 HOURS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Listen to podcasts at Radio.com.