DRUMMONDS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South mother was found murdered in her own backyard Tuesday night.
Around 8:40 Tuesday night, deputies with the Tipton County Sheriff's Office responded to 57 Richardson Landing Lane in Drummonds, Tennessee concerning a body which had been located in a wooded area behind a residence.
Upon arrival deputies and detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division determined the victim to be 33-year-old Starr Lynn Harris.
Harris had received severe blunt force trauma to the upper torso and head. The body was located in a heavily wooded area off Richardson Landing Lane.
The case is being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy will be conducted at the Regional Forensic Center in Memphis.
Neighbor Kevin Sisco described the scene Tuesday night.
"There was a lot of panic," said Sisco. "The back door was kicked in, or it had been unlatched. I don't see how that could've happened from the outside."
Harris managed the office of her husband's lawn care business from home. Former employee Jimmy Means remembered Harris as kind.
"She's like the nicest lady," Means said. "That's crazy."
While her husband was still at work, friends showed up at the office looking for Harris. Instead, they found the office empty and in disarray. They searched the entire property and eventually discovered Harris' body in the woods.
"They had called me and said the computer had been knocked over and they wanted to know where Starr was," Sisco said. "I know when we got home it wasn't a nice sight."
Harris was known by many as the glue that held her family together.
"She was the wheel that kept everything turning, kept everybody in line and kept everybody together," said Denise Miller, Harris' sister-in-law. "You never saw her without a smile."
Miller said she cannot understand who would want to harm her sister-in-law.
"It's just shocking to know that somebody would come all the way out here just to do something like that, because Starr was a special lady," Miller said.
Harris was the mother of three children, but she was helping to raise five stepchildren.
Alexis Harris, the victim's stepdaughter, clings to the stuffed lion her stepmother gave her on Valentine's Day.
"She gave it to me and it's really special," Alexis Harris said. "She's like a big part of our family and she's so special to us."
Investigators said they are following leads hoping to develop a suspect. They do not have anyone in custody.
The crime scene is being processed with the assistance of the 25th Judicial District Attorney General's Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol CIRT Team. The crime scene encompassed the residence and a large amount of dense forest and downhill terrain which required a team effort in the collection of evidence in the case.
"We will utilize every resource that is needed to investigate this case," says Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley.
Chumley said detectives and agents are trying to locate anyone who had contact with or saw Harris on Tuesday. Investigators are currently following leads and hope to develop a suspect.
Anyone having information in this case is asked to contact the Tipton County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 901-475-3300, after hours at Central Dispatch at 901-475-4300, tips may be called in to the Tip Line at 901-475-3307 or emailed to Sheriff@tiptonco.com.
"Detectives and Agents are trying to locate anyone who had contact or saw Starr Harris on Tuesday, 01 June 2010. The information is important and sometimes the smallest of information can be the lead detectives need to solve this senseless murder," adds Chumley.