Short family murders unsolved after 10 years
by Carter Coyle
ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) – This week marks the 10th anniversary of the brutal murder of a Virginia family and the crime still remains unsolved.
Michael and Mary Short were found shot and killed in their Virginia home on August 15, 2002. On September 25 that year, their nine-year-old daughter Jennifer was found dead in a creek 35 miles away.
Flowers, angels, teddy bears still marking the bridge over the creek in Stoneville, North Carolina where Jennifer Short’s remains were found.
Lisa Albert-Vaughn said she still remembers her father calling deputies when his dog found Jennifer’s remains weeks after her parents were murdered.
We’d heard they were murdered and that the little girl was still missing. We were praying they’d find her alive. Never in a million years did we think they’d find her in North Carolina, let alone on our property,” she said.
Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said any homicide case involving a family and children hits home in a tight-knit community.
“Ten years later, there is not a place I can go in Rockingham County that someone doesn’t ask me about the Short case. I tell them, investigators are still working and the case is still open.”
Every year, motorcyclists gather to ride 35 miles from the Short’s home in Basset, Virginia to the Grogan Road bridge now named for Jennifer Short.
We will continue doing this until the case is solved,” Sheriff Page said.
This year, nearly two hundred people participated in the Short family memorial ride Sunday.
“Somebody knows something, and somebody needs to come forward,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn’s father died earlier this year without ever knowing who killed Jennifer. She said the unsolved case haunted him for a decade after he found her body.
“He would try to remember anything he might have missed,” Vaughn said. “It was so sad. You just think this could have been my child or my grandchild. What would you do?”
“This case has taken us from Henry County to Rockingham County, to Canada and South Carolina. We will keep working to solve it and bring this killer or killers to justice,” Sheriff Page said.
There is still a $100,000 reward for anyone who has information about the Short family’s killer.