When an entire family is murdered in the dead of night, the investigation is complicated by a law enforcement agency teeming with secrets. Small town Virginia meets major crime in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Gerald Hooper of Martinsville, VA, has been convicted of the murder of a 14 year old girl, and the attempted rape of a 12 year old girl. Hooper has not been named a suspect in the Short family triple homicide.
Jennifer Short smiles in an undated photo.. She was 9 years old whenever she was abducted from her bed and murdered. Her parents were also murdered that night, and the case remains unsolved.
Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies serve as pallbearers at Jennifer’s funeral. Her remains were discovered more than a month after her abduction. Photo by Natalee Waters / Landmark News Service.
The Short family home was burnt in a possible act of arson in 2019. It remains unknown how or why the fire started. Photo by WDBJ7 News.
First responders are pictured at the site of the fire that destroyed the Short Family home in 2019. It remains unknown whether or not the fire was an act of arson.
In 2009, seven years after the Short family triple-homicide, the FBI released this sketch of a man reportedly seen in the area of the Short family home around the time of their murders.
This article from the 3-30-1979 edition of The News Leader discusses a double shooting perpetrated by Gerald Hooper. The shooting left one 14 year old girl dead, and one 18 year old man seriously wounded.
An article from the 12-28-1979 newspaper references Gerald Hooper’s charge for the attempted rape of a 12 year old girl, and the murder of a 14 year old girl.
Mary, Jennifer and Michael Short smile in an undated photo. The Shorts were a happy family of 3 who were looking forward to moving to coastal South Carolina at the time of their murders. On August 14th, 2002, they were murdered.