JENNIFER LENNETTE HARRIS HOLMAN, 28, was last seen the evening of 05/12/02. Her body was found 05/18/02 in the Red River, on the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Jennifer was a 1992 graduate of Bonham High School, and received a Bachelors in Aquatic Biology and a Masters in Kinesiology from Stephen H. Austin University in Nacogdoches. She was a free spirit, loved nature and the outdoors, and was a Universalist Deist.1
She was survived by father Jerry Harris and sister Alyssia Wernick.1 She is interred at Lamasco Cemetery, in Lamasco, TX.2
Family created the Justice for Jennifer FaceBook Page in her memory, and the Justice for Jennifer website was created by her brother-in-law filmmaker Barry Wernick.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF DISAPPEARANCE
Jennifer left her friend Kristy Farr around 8pm 05/12/02, telling her she was going to meet someone.3 She was last seen alive driving away in her green 2000 Jeep Wrangler. When she didn’t return home, her grandmother reported her missing 05/13/02.4
SEARCH & RECOVERY
That same day she was reported missing, her Jeep was found near Lake Bonham Hoe Down Hall (music spot) on County Road 2680 in Fannin County.
Jennifer’s nude body was found 05/18/02 in the Red River by two fisherman. The Texas and Oklahoma line is marked by a vegetation, and because she was found in the river, forensic examinations took place in Oklahoma. According to Mike Overton of the Bryant County OK Sheriff’s Office, she was killed in Texas, then dumped in the river, as her lungs were empty of water. Forensic experts concluded Jennifer’s uterus along with other body parts were destroyed by turtles and fish in the river.5
Cause of death was determined to be homicidal violence.6
Jennifer and Rob Holman began dating in elementary school, and by high school they were inseparable; he was part of their family growing up. The couple married in 1996 and purchased a home in suburban Dallas in 1999.
Rob enjoyed the slower pace of rural Bonham where Jennifer preferred all the big city life in Dallas had to offer. She “…embraced a holistic lifestyle and enrolled in massage therapy school.”
It wasn’t long before Jennifer confided in her sister Alyssia she’d met a like-minded student – James Hamilton – who wanted to open a massage and wellness center. Hamilton was living with his pregnant girlfriend and their child, and Jennifer was still married.
She and Holman soon divorced, and he moved back to Boham. Jennifer and Hamilton moved in together and started a holistic business in Dallas. The business failed and, since loans and other debts were in her name, she was forced to file bankruptcy.
The relationship was volatile and soon fizzled out, likely precipitated by her constant refusals of Hamilton’s marriage proposals.
Unhappy and with no income, she reached out to Holman who by this time had a girlfriend. She told her cousin she still loved him, and wanted to reconcile. To this end, she moved in with her grandmother in Bonham. About six weeks later she disappeared.
Holman later admitted they had sexual relations multiple times since her return to Boham, and that he spoke with her the night of her disappearance. Jennifer was upset that he wouldn’t meet her, but it was Mother’s Day and he had plans to spend it with his girlfriend. He also admitted a month earlier Jennifer told him she was expecting his child; however, he didn’t believe her.
THEORIES & SUSPICIONS
Suspects. Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson, elected in 2017, told the Herald Dispatch there were “only every two real suspects in the case.” He identified them as James Hamilton, Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend/business partner, and Rob Holman, her ex-husband. He went on to say Hamilton was ruled out after he passed a lie-detector test with “flying colors.” Holman was scheduled for the test, but later refused to on advice of counsel.47
Both were mirandized, and denied seeing Jennifer the night she disappeared and denied involvement in her murder. Neither were arrested or charged. Hamilton’s alibi that he was over an hour away with a friend at McDonald’s checked out. Holman went to buy beer and visit with friends at the time of her disappearance. However, when friends weren’t at home he drove around rural Fannin County for five hours – alone.3
Damaged & Missing Evidence. Sheriff Johnson found “…limited information and some evidence that had been damaged and destroyed by water getting into a storage pod” and “…other evidence may have been mishandled.”3
Jerry Harris alleged Lt. Mike McClellan, one of the initial investigators, wanted to take over the payments of Jennifer’s Jeep and wanted her laptop. The laptop was missing from evidence and has never been found. He and another man gave Fannin County Sheriff’s Office clothing they’d found on the Red River 03/10/02. They were missing from evidence at one point, then supposedly found. However, they were not the same as those he’d turned in.4
Life Insurance Query. According to Jennifer’s father, two months after her murder, Hamilton asked about a life insurance policy.
Jennifer’s case was featured on 48 Hours: Murder on Red River, Season 30, Episode 43, aired 05/19/18.
Fannin County Sheriff’s Office is working to solve the Jennifer Lennette Harris Holman case and bring her killer(s) to justice. If you have information about this crime, please contact detectives at (903) 583–2143.Submit corrections/updates here.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Obituaries, page 8B, published 05/23/02. [↩][↩]
- Find A Grave, accessed 02/23/22. [↩]
- CBS News: Unsolved murder case is the talk of small Texas town 17 years later, published 07/06/19. [↩][↩][↩]
- Herald Democrat: ‘People were never into the facts’ of Harris case, published 05/12/17. [↩][↩][↩]
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Tests may give clues about dead woman, page 5B, published 06/12/02. [↩]
- Texas Rangers Unsolved Homicide:Jennifer Harris, accessed 03/06/22. [↩]
- News Channel 12: Sheriff releases new details in 15-year-old murder cold case, published 05/12/17. [↩]