Joshua Harmon

Eight-year-old Joshua Harmon was found dead in 1988, and Roswell Police are still searching for answers.

The Roswell Police Department, with the support of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, is asking the public to help to generate new leads for the 1988 homicide of Joshua Harmon.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 marks the 31st anniversary of the homicide of Joshua Harmon. Harmon was 8 years old at the time of his death.

On Sunday, May 15, 1988, Harmon was reported missing to the Roswell Police Department by his mother. At the time of his murder, Harmon’s family lived in an apartment complex called Roundtree Apartments. Today, it is known as River Crossing at Roswell.

Harmon regularly played outside in the area of his apartment building and the other buildings in the immediate vicinity. He searched for turtles around the lake in the complex and played in the “fort” in the woods behind his building.

On May 15, Harmon was playing outside, with friends and alone, all day. Harmon’s mother, Cherie Laws, recounts that he was in and out of the apartment throughout the day for various reasons.

When Laws started making dinner she asked her husband, Harmon’s stepfather, Douglas Laws, to let Harmon know to stay close to home. When his stepfather could not find him, Harmon’s mother called the Roswell Police.

A neighbor informed the family that Harmon had stopped by their residence at approximately 7 p.m. to ask if his child, Harmon’s friend, could come outside to play. The family was spending time together and eating dinner so the boy could not come outside.

Harmon told the neighbor that he was going to be waiting for the neighbor boy in the woods at the fort where the children commonly played together. This is the last reported sighting of Harmon alive.

After extensive searches over the next nearly 48 hours, Harmon’s body was located in the woods of the apartment complex on Tuesday, May 17, 1988. Harmon was beaten and strangled to death, then buried under loose dirt and pine straw. Logs were placed on top of his body to conceal him from immediate discovery.

A reward of $2,000 was issued by then governor Joe Frank on June 15, 1988, a month after the initial disappearance. The reward later increased to $7,000.

Harmon’s death also prompted safety classes to be held at Roswell and Mountain Park elementary schools.

“I just don’t see how it’s possible for somebody not to have seen something or heard something,”Laws told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 1989. “Somebody knows what happened to my son. I just wish they would come forward.”

It is the hope of the Roswell Police Department and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office that the community will help with this case so that Harmon’s murderer can be identified and held accountable for this crime.

Along with reviewing all of the available evidence, the Roswell PD is reaching out to witnesses from the original investigation. Roswell PD are also looking for new witnesses that may know, or have heard, something about this case over the years.

In the last 31 years, Roswell PD believes that the killer may have spoken to someone about this incident and disclosed their involvement. Roswell PD is asking for anyone who may have any information about this case to please call Crime Stoppers or the Roswell Police Department to share that information.

If you have information and would like to speak with an investigator, please call Detective Jennifer Bennett at 770-640-4380 or by email at jbennett@roswellgov.com.

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