LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has determined that the remains of a man found in 1986 are those of a Little Rock man last seen in 1982.
The remains were found by hunters along an abandoned trail in rural Claiborne County in the northeast part of the state in August 1986, the TBI stated. At the time, forensic investigators determined the skeletal remains were those of a 30-to-40-year-old white male who had been shot.
Investigators determined the unknown man had been dead for at least six months when he was found, and his death was ruled a homicide.
In December 2022, TBI investigators submitted a sample of the man’s remains to Othram, Inc. a private lab based in Texas. Othram scientists provided information about the man’s possible relatives to investigators.
TBI used that information to trace the relatives’ profiles to potential family members in Arkansas. Agents contacted two central Arkansas family members who told investigators about a brother they had not heard from in over 40 years.
DNA samples were taken from the family members and matched the remains found in Tennessee.
With this information, TBI investigators were able to determine that the remains were of Jerry Harrison of Little Rock. According to WATE-TV, Harrison had last contacted his family in 1982 while traveling cross country. In 1986 Harrison would have been 29 years old.
The DNA testing is part of the TBI’s Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative, an effort looking to use specialized forensic genetic genealogy testing in TBI cold cases. WATE-TV reports that so far the agency has identified 14 cases to be part of the program and has involved Othram in 10 investigations.
TBI investigators are asking for the public’s help in providing information to solve Harrison’s murder. They may be reached at 1-800-TBI-FIND.