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'48 Hours' episode focuses on Dale County murder
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'48 Hours' episode focuses on Dale County murder

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'48 Hours' episode focuses on Dale County murder case

Carl Harris Jr. talks to the media in front of the Dale County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, as his attorney David Harrison (right) and members of his family look on.

The CBS news program “48 Hours” will focus on the 1990 murder of Tracey Harris in Dale County and how charges against her former husband were dropped just as he was set to go to trial 30 years after her murder.

The episode, “The 30-Year Secret – The Tracey Harris Murder,” will air this Saturday, Jan. 23, at 9 p.m.

Tracey Harris disappeared on March 7, 1990. Her body was found a week later in the Choctawhatchee River. She was 22 years old when she died and she had a young daughter with her former husband, Carl Harris Jr.

Her body was discovered near Woodham’s Bridge off Dale County Road 20. An autopsy determined that she died by drowning, and that there was water and sand found in her lungs, according to previous news reports. The autopsy also noted bruising on the side of her neck consistent with strangulation.

The investigation remained cold for 25 years before an Ozark Police Department cold case unit reopened the matter in January 2016. In September 2016, police arrested Carl Harris Jr.

On the very day Carl Harris’ trial was to begin on Jan. 13, 2020, District Attorney Kirke Adams announced that murder charges against Carl Harris were being dropped. Instead, Jeff Beasley of Ozark had been charged with killing Tracey Harris after admitting to the crime.

According to previous news reports, investigators and the district attorney’s office interviewed Beasley after speaking with his ex-wife – a witness police had not been spoken to in 30 years.

In June, it was reported that Carl Harris had filed a $6 million claim against the City of Ozark.

The Dothan CBS affiliate is WTVY Channel 4.

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