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Sheriff: Investigators Following Up on New Jennifer Short Leads

Some new leads have developed in the disappearance of 9-year-old Virginia girl Jennifer Short.

Sheriff Frank Cassell told reporters Sunday that a couple of the leads are "fairly promising."

Meanwhile, volunteers combing the area's rolling hills for signs of the girl whose parents were found shot to death found no evidence and ended their search, officials said.

Police are still looking for the girl.

"There's very little physical evidence," Cassell said. "We have two dead bodies, a missing child and little else. We've had no sightings, we've had no vehicle descriptions. All we've got is what we're running down right now."

He said law enforcement authorities were searching Henry County and neighboring Franklin County.

A bloodhound picked up the girl's scent at the home and around a motel and convenience store next door, but Cassell said the information was not significant because the girl was known to frequent that area.

"We'll keep up this pace as long as necessary, as long as we have something to follow," Cassell said.

Jennifer's parents, Michael Short, 50, and Mary Hall Short, 36, were found shot to death in their home 35 miles south of Roanoke. Each had been shot once in the head, a preliminary autopsy showed. A complete autopsy was expected Monday.

Cassell said recent photos of Jennifer, showing her with shorter hair, were released Saturday to Amber Alert -- a nationwide system that transmits information quickly to law enforcement agencies, television and radio stations -- but failed to produce much new information.

Christopher Thompson, 25, a laborer who worked for the family's mobile home moving business, was questioned Sunday after having spoken with police several times over the last few days. Other business associates of Michael Short were also re-interviewed Sunday, Cassell said.

Police said Thompson is cooperating and is not a suspect.

Thompson told the Martinsville Bulletin he spent hours at the Short house the night before the slayings helping Michael Short repair a truck. He said he returned the next morning to go with the family to buy another truck and found Michael Short's body in an enclosed carport around 9 a.m. Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.