Taking Action Against Unsolved Crimes: DeLange Harris


By Sarah Cantey

Three years, that's how long DeLange Harris' family's been waiting for justice. His murder remains unsolved and his family is speaking out hoping to finally get answers.

John Harris, the victim's father said, "I don't believe in taking that we can't give. We can't give life. Only god can give life."

A huge part of John Harris' world was taken.

Crenshaw County Investigator Mike Johnson said, "On May the 3rd, 2011, at approximately 3:45 a body was discovered on Athens Church Road."

How DeLange Harris' body got there remains a mystery.

John said, "What happened to my child, I wouldn't want to see it done to not only no one else's child, but no other individual. No not one."

A gunshot wound to the back of the head, in broad daylight, after John Harris saw his only son alive that morning.

John said, "It couldn't have been drugs, it couldn't have been money. it couldn't have been, we don't know what it possibly could have been. But whatever it was, whoever did it all they had to do was find me and I would have made it right. One way or another."

And for a tall, athletic 25-year-old's life to be taken, his mother Dora said, "My son was a big man, he was a gentle man but he was a big man. He wouldn't harm a flea."

It's not just the who and the why that makes his family relive his death everyday. "What really eats at me about this case is the silence in it. Somebody knows. Somebody has heard. Somebody has been told," John said.

State and local agencies say they are still investigating. "As far as this week we have interviewed people regarding this case," Johnson said.

They hope an increased reward, now up to $10,000, may break that silence.

District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said, "the family needs closure, the community needs to know that they can be safe in their community."

And now, three years to the day, family and friends still gather at DeLange's grave.

Pleading for someone to come forward with information.

John said, "Today is my day. It's my day today. The last three years, this case has plagued us. But I will say it to all families and each individual. Tomorrow might be your day. If the shoe is on the other foot, they would want the same thing. I would want to give them the same thing...I'll never forget him. Alzheimer's will not let me forget about him."

Investigators say there are new persons of interest and new tips. But they still plead for anyone to come forward with information, no matter how small, because that one lead might help them put the case together.

If you have any information contact the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office at 335-6568.

The $10,000 reward is a combined effort by Governor Bentley and Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West.
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