WENTWORTH, N.C. – A skeleton found in North Carolina was identified Friday as the remains of Jennifer Short, the 9-year-old Virginia girl whose parents were found shot to death on Aug. 15.
Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page confirmed that DNA evidence proved that the skeleton was Jennifer's, and he said the young girl had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
Investigators said they have not made any arrests but would like to talk with a man whose rented house and mobile home in Rockingham County were recently searched.
Jennifer's remains were discovered Sept. 25 near a home in Stoneville, N.C., about 30 miles south of her home in Bassett, Va.
She had been missing since Aug. 15, when the bodies of her parents -- Michael Short, 50, and Mary Short, 36 -- were found in their home. Investigators had said they believed the girl had been abducted.
The investigation and search for the little girl had been emotionally difficult, said Sheriff Frank Cassell of Henry County, Va.
"She's gone now and she's safe now and no evil can befall her," he said.
Tests by a lab in Roanoke, Va., showed Jennifer had been shot, Page said. Neither sheriff would say whether evidence indicated she had been raped.
"I am saddened. I am heartbroken for this little girl and her family," Cassell said. "But at least it's important for them to know she's not out there being abused or hurt."
Rockingham County sheriff's deputies seized nine maps, one of which was marked to show the location of the Shorts' home, on Saturday from a mobile home east of Madison, according to court records. The house was searched in August.
Court records said Garrison Storm Bowman, 60, owned the mobile home and rented the house from another man. Bowman was last seen by the house's owner the day after the Shorts' bodies were found.
Page said investigators would like to speak with Bowman, who is now in Canada.
"He has not been listed as a suspect but we do need to talk to him. We know where he's at and we will be interviewing him at a later time," he said.
An affidavit accompanying the search warrants said Bowman had threatened to kill a man in Virginia in a dispute over moving the mobile home from one site to another in Rockingham County, the News & Record of Greensboro and The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported Friday. The man was not identified in the affidavit.
Michael Short owned and operated a mobile-home moving business in Virginia.
Police seized mattresses, cushions, blankets, sheets, samples of hair, a vacuum cleaner and telephone records from the trailer and sought phone records to establish whether Bowman had ever called the Shorts.
The search of the mobile home was the second time Rockingham County deputies seized items from a residence of Bowman's. A home he rented northwest of Mayodan in Rockingham County was searched Aug. 18, according to the court documents.
The documents said the man who rented that house to Bowman, Gary Lemons, told deputies that on Aug. 12, he noticed Bowman constructing a false floor in his van.
He also said Bowman told him about a dispute with a man in Virginia over moving his trailer. Lemons told authorities he last saw Bowman on Aug. 15. The next day, he discovered the house was empty and the mobile home was gone, according to the court documents.
Bowman left a note in his mailbox stating that he had moved to Alaska, though deputies noted he asked that his mail be forwarded to an address in Pennsylvania, according to the court documents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.