Memorial ride honors memory of Short family 17 years after unsolved murder – ‘Who killed Jennifer Short?’ episode 6

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Every year, a crowd gathers in Martinsville to honor the memory of Michael, Mary and Jennifer Short.

In a long processional, motorcycles and cars make their way from the Victory Baptist Church to the Jennifer Short Memorial Bridge in Rockingham County.

"It makes me want to cry to think about it. That people still care enough to keep her name out there, to keep the scholarship going,” said Linda Sink, Michael Short's daughter-in-law at the time of the murders. "It touches my heart to know that there are people out there that still thinks about it, still keep it going and they don't give up.“

Michael's sister, Carolyn Short, says she and Linda are the only family members who still regularly attend the ride.

“To me, this is remembering my brother and his wife and my niece,” she said.

Even on a day meant for remembrance, they say they worry the killer could be among the crowd.

“Every time I come to these rides, I think about that. That person could be out there,” Linda said.

She explained that what happened in August 2002 changed the structure of her family. She and her then-husband had planned to adopt a little girl and were in the process of filling out paperwork to make it official.

"When this happened, and they've found that Jennifer died, Kenny decided that he couldn't bear the thought of having a child at that time. And something like that could have happened to that child. So we ended up not adopting her,” Linda said.

Carolyn said painful memories resurface every year.

"It is tough. Very tough. But when August comes, it's even tougher,” she said. “Don't get me wrong. I do cry but not like I would like to, I’d like to cry until I couldn't cry no more.”

She's never been able to grieve the loss of three family members and believes she won't be able to until she has answers.

“I might not even live to see that person, but I'm still praying that I will and if I don't, it just wasn't meant to be,” she said.

After years of making the drive to the place Jennifer's remains were found in Stoneville, Carolyn wonders what she would be like today.

“Wonder if she would be married. Would she be in college, if she would have a good job, would she have kids?" she said.

The annual memorial ride raises money for a scholarship for Henry County Schools students in Jennifer's name.

This is part of our series on Jennifer Short's disappearance and death. 

For episode 5, click here.

For episode 4, click here.

For episode 3, click here.

For episode 2, click here.

For episode 1, click here.

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