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Still seeking justice DeLange Harris: Harris family holds 6th vigil

Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell (left) embraces DeLange Harris’s mother, Dora during the prayer vigil. The reward for information leading to the arrest for the murder of Harris is now set at $20,000. Journal Photo/Shayla Terry

By: Shayla Terry

Six years after the murder of DeLange Harris, community members still gather to honor him on the anniversary of his death.

DeLange Harris was murdered in 2011. His body was recovered from a ditch on Athens Church Road near Glenwood; the cause of death was a gunshot wound.

Since his death, the Harris family has held a vigil every year at New Hope Valley Church. During the vigil, his life is celebrated and prayers are made for justice in the case.

“The vigil is a good thing,” John F. Harris, DeLange’s father, said. “This is the sixth year, and it’s getting bigger and better as we go. I wouldn’t like for it to be that way, but until the case is solved, people are really rallying behind us.”

Since last year’s vigil, the reward award for information leading to an arrest has increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell was in attendance at this year’s vigil. He says that the case means a lot to him for multiple reasons

“I know the family surely appreciates the support of the community,” he said. “I lost a child in an accident and I know how deeply it hurts everyday.”

Powell, who was not in office at the time of the murder, said that the case is not cold, and that the Sheriff’s office is working to bring justice.

“We work on this case constantly,” he said. “We have different agencies trying to dig in and help us find whatever break we can. This case is a definite priority for us.”

The Crenshaw County Commission has agreed to provide the funds for Crimestoppers to get on board with solving the case.

“Crimestoppers will start going in the next week or two,” Powell said. “Hopefully, that will produce that one tip that we may need to solve this case. It wouldn’t make me any prouder to call the family up and say we have someone in jail for the murder of your child.”

DeLange Harris would’ve been 31 on May 1. For now, his parent and sister, Apreede Caulley, still feel the void in his absence.

“It drastically changed our lives,” his father said. “I’ve buried a lot of family members and I thought I was comfortable with death. But when this happened, it took the starch out of me… that’s burying a child.”

His mother, Dora Harris, says it has been hard to even speak about losing her only son.

“It was so devastating to know that someone had killed my only son,” she said. “There is so much in life I expected for my son that you can’t really put on the shoulders of a daughter, then this happened. It hurts me so much.”

If anyone has any information about the death of DeLange Harris, call the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office at (334) 335-6568, the District Attorney’s Office at (334) 382-7444 or the FBI’s Mobile office at (251) 438-3674.