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Short family home burns down; murder case remains cold after 17 years

(WDBJ)
Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 4:19 PM EST
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A landmark for the Bassett community is now gone.

"The house is remembrance of the family. When you go by it, now that the house is gone, its gonna be different," said Ray Reynolds, the former neighbor of the Short family.

Its where Mary, Michael, and Jennifer Short lived.

Mary and Michael both shot in the head by an unknown killer in August of 2002.

Jennifer was also shot in the head, but taken. Her remains were found in a creek in North Carolina a few weeks later.

"I just hate it cause its gone," said Harden Crum, the current homeowner.

Harden Crum's family purchased the property soon after the murders. While they never lived inside, other families did. It's been empty though for the last two months.

"I'm thankful no one else was living in the house when this was done," said Crum.

"Once we arrived it was heavy fire, showing from the A-side front of the house," said Tyler Beam, Chief of Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department.

For first res ponders, it was a matter of getting the flames down.

For the community, it's something more.

"Well it changed my life at the time because I was their neighbor. And realizing the whole family had been murdered and taken out,

this little girl taken out of the area and found later, it made you realize, no matter how small of an area, it can happen anywhere," said Reynolds.

Reynolds has held a memorial ride for Jennifer every year since 2002.

Now that the last part of them is gone, its one less place they can be remembered.

"If anything maybe we can just stick a big cross right there was the house was at, in remembrance of the family," said Reynolds.

A flag hangs in the backyard now, half staff from the smoke and the wind.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Henry County Fire Marshall.