A potential breakthrough has emerged in an unsolved Jacksonville homicide from 1996. The cold case centers around the brutal murder of a 41-year-old woman, found by CSX railyard workers on Warrington Street. The victim, identified as Mildred Harris, had suffered blunt force trauma, believed to have occurred in a vehicle before her body was discarded.
Detective Travis Oliver of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cold case unit remarked, “She was a beloved mother of three young boys.” Two surviving sons are still deeply affected by the loss, with one attributing his medical issues to the trauma of the event.
Recent advancements in the case hinge on DNA evidence. “In the past year, we’ve had a DNA confirmation from the victim that’s given us new leads,” said Det. Oliver. The match, sourced from a man with an extensive criminal background, was identified due to routine felony-arrest DNA swabs that police add to a national database. However, a concrete arrest and subsequent conviction require more evidence.
Det. Oliver emphasizes the need for uncooperative witnesses, believed to be alive, to come forward. This could be the key to solving the case.
Drawn to homicide investigations due to personal loss, Det. Oliver said, “I lost my father to homicide when I was young, and later, one of my brothers was murdered.” Both cases ended in arrests. He remains hopeful that this lead will finally bring closure for the Harris family.
Information regarding the case can be shared with JSO at 904-630-0500. Anonymous tips that may lead to cash rewards can be given to First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS or http://www.fccrimestoppers.com/.