Police: Murder victim identified after more than 30 years

TBI said that skeletal remains that were found in 1986 in Claiborne County have now been identified.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:52 PM EDT
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CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee Bureau says it has identified a murder victim more than 30 years after his death, and now investigators are asking for the public’s help on who killed him.

TBI said that skeletal remains were discovered by hunters along an isolated and abandoned trail in the Caney Valley area of Claiborne County on August 24, 1986. Forensic anthropologists determined that the skeletal remains were those of a white male, likely between the age of 30 and 40. It was discovered that the victim had been shot, and his death was ruled a homicide by Investigators. According to the University of Tennessee Anthropology Department, the man had been dead for about six months to a year before the discovery of his remains by the hunters. After exhausting all leads, investigators could not determine the victim’s identity, and he was classified as a John Doe.

The UT Forensic Anthropology Center in 2015 submitted a sample of the man’s remains to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. A DNA profile was developed and entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System in hopes that the man would eventually be identified the TBI said.

Investigators said that scientists provided information about possible relatives connected to the victim. The TBI and an intelligence analysts then used that information to locate potential family members in Arkansas. TBI said that Agents made contact with two of those individuals and confirmed they had a brother they had not heard from in more than four decades. With the assistance of police in Arkansas, agents were able to obtain DNA for testing at the TBI Crime Lab in Nashville.

TBI said that last week, they were able to positively identify the male victim as Jerry Harrison of Little Rock, Arkansas and who was 29 years old at the time of the murder. Police said that Harrison had last contacted his family in 1982 after he began traveling across the country.

TBI is asking if the public can help provide information that may help solve the murder of Jerry Harrison. If you have information about this homicide, specifically any knowledge about individuals Mr. Harrison may have been with before his death, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND.