VA VA - Michael, 50, Mary, 36, & Jennifer Short, 9, Bassett, 15 Aug 2002

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Doyle, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. JnRyan

    JnRyan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,444
    Likes Received:
    16,999
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Wow! I believe I've been in that area before when my uncle lived about 5-10 miles from where she was found. We had to drive thru it to get to Summerfield or Hanging Rock SP. I haven't been there in 25 years, but from what I remember of that particular area this killer was likely familiar with the area as most traveling through would drive east-west on Hwy 58 or I-40 or north-south on Hwy 220.
     


  2. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    This appears to be a crime that was carefully planned, the murderer seemed to be familiar with the house, knew where phone lines were in order to cut them (in the dark), appears to know where everyone would be sleeping. I cannot imagine that he would be unaware that there was a child living in the house. My opinion is that someone who would be cold enough to execute two people while they slept would not be moved to compassion for a child. I think the child was most likely the target all along.
     
    sallye818, nerosleuth, mks762 and 3 others like this.
  3. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    If carefully planned, do you think the truck parked on the side of the highway was the killer's? It's a pretty visible spot.

    Michael wasn't in bed. The oldest article I have says he was found on a couch in the enclosed carport. I assume that means the left end of the house (as you're facing it from the road). So, was he asleep or had he let somebody in? If the later, obviously the person came prepared since the phone lines were cut. It looks like the phone line was likely at the opposite end of the house (I can see that in a StreetView photo).
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
    sallye818, nerosleuth and TedMac like this.
  4. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    The phone lines as seen in Google StreetView a few years later:

    Phone lines.jpg

    Here's what that end of the house looked like in the first news article. Phone lines aren't visible but you can see the electrical box and conduit in that area. Note the shrubbery wasn't as large back then.

    Day after murder.jpg

    I'd think it was pretty dark late at night and would have required a flashlight. Also, I'd guess the killer knew where the lines were located in advance. Based on the latest StreetView photos, none of the nearby power poles have street lights. I can see another pole that would have been located toward the rear left of the property. I'll put that in a separate post.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
    Hazelnutty, nerosleuth and TedMac like this.
  5. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    The rear pole. It appears the pole at the rear left of the property had a street light. I believe it appears in the 2008 StreetView. Definitely in the 2011 photo. In that photo, it does not appear any lines ran to the house from that pole so I think it was purely for the light. The phone lines were at the far end of the house, it seems. In the area that would have been very dark. Note in the 2011 photo you can see high voltage transmission lines in the background. They do not go to the pole. Those are on higher steel towers over 200 feet behind the house.

    2008:
    Rear pole-2008.jpg

    2011:
    Rear pole-2011.jpg

    2019 (different angle):
    Rear pole-2019.jpg
     
    nerosleuth likes this.
  6. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    This first photo is the old news photo from the day after the murders. Note the crime scene tape.

    2002.jpg

    Here's another photo that I found somewhere online ages ago. It appears to have the crime scene tape so I assume it's also from shortly after the murders. Of interest, note the "for sale" sign. This easily could have given somebody an excuse to visit the property before the murders. The Shorts were preparing to move. I saw an old article yesterday with quotes from their realtor. So, perhaps the killer was truly looking for a house. They visited the Shorts, saw Jennifer, and decided to kidnap her. If so, then perhaps this person also went on to buy a house shortly afterwards.

    Here's that photo:

    2002 probably.jpg

    I'd guess that's the state police forensics truck beside the house. Also, note there appears to be a small light at the end of their walk.
     
    sallye818 and nerosleuth like this.
  7. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    With the house being for sale, that gives me another idea. What if the killer saw they were about to move. Perhaps he feared he was running out of time and would lose track of their whereabouts. Maybe that pushed him to commit the murders at that time.

    That triggered another thought. What if the killer had previously abused Jennifer and was afraid they'd go to the police. He saw the sale sign and knew he had to act while he still knew their location. If so, then it would be a person who previously had access to Jennifer. And, if they were close enough, could they have had a key?
     
    nerosleuth likes this.
  8. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I have often thought that the truck parked on the highway very well could have been the killer. I believe the witness said it was about 2 a.m. when she observed the truck. Michael wasn't in bed but he had been sleeping on a couch in the garage (not a carport). In the crime news daily video they show police photos and you can see him in a sleeping position with a couple of bed pillows under his head. No signs of any struggle. During the video they interview the Sheriff and he says it was obvious he never woke up and never knew what happened to him. Sheriff says that when they arrived the garage door was open (pics show an open garage door).
     
    sallye818 and nerosleuth like this.
  9. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
     
    nerosleuth likes this.
  10. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    The house was up for sale and I believe that shortly before the murders there had been an open house. That would have been a perfect opportunity for a stalker to go through the house, around the yard, etc. and familiarize himself with the layout of the rooms, the phone lines, etc. Frequently at open houses prospective buyers are asked to sign in as they arrive, but of course anyone planning murder would have most likely given a fake name. I don't think the person was actually interested in buying a house at all, he just wanted to go through the house. Sociopaths thrive on taking risks.
     
    sallye818, nerosleuth and mks762 like this.
  11. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    As for the bridge location, we assume it was just a random spot that the killer may have been familiar with. It was pretty close to a house, though. Could it have been a message to the house owner?
     
    mks762 and nerosleuth like this.
  12. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    There's an interesting comment on a video.



    Quote: Jennifer would always wave and smile at me anytime she would see me drive by in my big truck. I would always pull my truck horn. Her Daddy Michael Short drove a truck too. I seen him several times at Dudleys Truck Stop in Rocky Mount.

    He goes on to say he never met Jennifer and misses the house. If true, it sounds like she would wave at trucks driving past the house. It's hard to tell whose attention she might have attracted.
     
    mks762 and nerosleuth like this.
  13. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I was happy to see that they are having the Jennifer Short Memorial Scholarship Ride 2021. So happy to see them keeping this case in the public eye.
     
    mks762, sallye818 and nerosleuth like this.
  14. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I believe Sunday is the 19th anniversary. Time is slipping away and it seems there may never be any justice served, if the killer is still even alive.
     
    sallye818 and nerosleuth like this.
  15. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I think he will be caught by genetic genealogy testing. He's probably running scared now knowing all the cases that have been solved with this method.
     
    sallye818, JnRyan and nerosleuth like this.
  16. JohnTate90210

    JohnTate90210 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    1,645
    Trophy Points:
    93
    So they do have DNA?
     
    sallye818 likes this.
  17. Sunny Day

    Sunny Day Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    In an interview with one of the investigators he was asked about genetic genealogy testing. He said they were weighing the possibility, but wanted to be careful with the sample. This implies they do have DNA.
     
  18. DoubleN1993

    DoubleN1993 Active Member

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Today is the Short's Anniversary today , 19 years on....
    Paying respect for the victims and wishing some of you that are going to the memorial bike ride today .
     
  19. TedMac

    TedMac Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,584
    Likes Received:
    3,686
    Trophy Points:
    113
    <modsnip: Quoted post was removed>

    Hey LR1. Long time since I have heard from you. Congratulations on your 1,000th post! I follow this case closely. It happened not far from my home town and my late father actually new Mr. Short. Dad had a small trailer park and Mr. Short had hauled some trailers for him. I recall Dad being very shook up about the murders.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2021
    JnRyan and Hazelnutty like this.
  20. LR1

    LR1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,002
    Likes Received:
    689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thanks TedMac, yeah I remember you mentioning that a few years ago. I've looked at this case up one side and down the other in these last years including a recent push last week after noticing JohnTate's contributions to the thread. He asks some good questions. My latest thought is although a lot was going on in 02 the FBI could and should've played a more prominent role in the opening day's and weeks of this case. I'm not giving up hope though, no matter what.
     

Share This Page



  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice