JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The family of a Jacksonville woman who was murdered nearly 30 years ago is asking for your help.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has found a DNA match for the person they believe killed Mildred Harris in 1996. Detectives told First Coast News the impact of Harris' murder on her family seemed the same as a person who had lost their family member that day. The family says Harris' murder has devastated them and they're asking for the community's help in finding her killer.
"When they took my mother, they took my everything," said Tyrice Harris, Harris' youngest son.
Tyrice Harris was 16-years-old when his mother was found dead on the side of a street in Jacksonville's Lackawanna neighborhood in 1996.
"She was overall a great woman, strong woman," Harris said. "Raised three children on her own, made her way out of no way."
Harris' brother, Keevin Turpin named his youngest son "Justice." Turpin says memories of their mother are fading.
"The thought hit me," Turpin said. "I can't remember my mom's voice. This is something I have to live with."
Now, 27 years later, detectives reveal a break in the case. JSO investigators say they're continuing to track down the person who is a DNA match in their system as well as continue to speak with two witnesses who were uncooperative in 1996.
Detectives say they were able to collect the suspect's DNA because Harris fought back when she was killed. They explain the suspect committed a felony, though they didn't know what, and their DNA was entered into the system.
"I know people speak of closure," Turpin paused. "But to me, even with an arrest at this point, the wound's still gonna be open because you [haven't] been able to do whatever you wanted to do for the last 27 years."
Harris' family asks you to go to the police with any information on the case. Harris was 41-years-old and her sister says she was known as "Mickey."
"Our loss is great," said Harris' sister, Gracie Bell Kearse McCastler. "And we do need your help."
If you know anything that could help solve this case, call JSO's Cold Case Unit at 904-255-2626 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS, where you can leave an anonymous tip.