Action News 5 Investigates: Buried Secrets

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Rodney Mills is a man who behind bars in Tennessee, convicted in the murder of a Memphis man nearly 15 years ago.  Last month, he told Action News 5 he set up the man's wife to make it look like she was part of a murder for hire plot.

During that interview, Mills also confessed to another crime - one that took Janice Broach deep into rural Mississippi.

Jeff Harmon disappeared more than 20 years ago in Monroe County, Mississippi.  His father, Noel, is haunted by his son's disappearance.

"Never heard from him again after that Saturday afternoon," Noel Harmon said. "It's always on my mind."

Now, Rodney Mills is confessing to Jeff Harmon's murder.

"I'm telling you I done it," he said. "I put the man in the grave yard where he's at."

Sheriff Andy Hood confirmed to Action News 5 that Harmon disappeared and was apparently murdered in 1985.  His body has never been found.

"Harmon was killed," Hood said. "Apparently, for a day or two he was hauled around in the back of a car. They went to Mills' residence. He agreed to dispose of the body."

Hood said one of Mills' own family members tied him to Harmon's murder.

"It was one of his family that said Rodney had disposed of the body," he said.

The body was allegedly disposed of in a cemetery just 300 yards behind where Mills used to live.  Mills thought it would be the perfect place to bury the body, because there was already a freshly dug grave there.  Mills said he dug the grave back up, put Harmon's body in it, and covered it over.

"There was this guy they had buried a couple of days before, so I went down there - they wanted me to get rid of this body," he said. "I go down there and dig the grave up, and then when they kill him, they bring me the body. I bring him down there and put him on top of the coffin, and cover him back up. He's been down there since 1985."

Investigators wanted Mills to tell them where he buried Harmon.  Several years ago, they sent him cemetery pictures in jail.  Mills pointed out a spot on the pictures where the body allegedly was.

"We went to our circuit court clerk, got a search warrant, and found just one body," Hood said.

Hood said that left the case stalled, as prosecutors no longer believed Mills.  However, they never actually brought him to the cemetery to show them where he allegedly buried Harmon's body.  But, that might happen soon.

"Our hope is we get Rodney here," Hood said. "We find the body, and Rodney talks."

If Mills can find the right burial site, it would bring closure for Jeff Harmon's family.

"I would love to give him a proper burial," said his father, Noel Harmon. "Don't just leave him out in the cold dark swamp."

Investigators said Mills might be able to give them enough to charge the suspects in Harmon's murder and at least 5 other murders that happened around the same time.

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