Police investigate two murders they believe are tied together

A third murder may be related

Unsolved murders

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Police believe two murders they have been investigating for more than year are connected.

We sat down with both detectives from Kingsport and Sullivan County about the similarities.

Gary Jones and Betty Sue Short were both killed in their homes, 10 months apart from one another. "We wanted to come forward and let people know in that area that we believe it's the same suspect," said Kingsport detective Randy Murray.

Murray tells us there were several similarities in both cases, leading them to their suspicions.

Both departments told News 5 they believe the two victims were acquaintances with the suspect, along with other similarities. "One of the biggest similarities were a lot of the witnesses and people that are familiar with the cases," said Murray.

We learned location also was a factor. Murray gave us the address of both victims to show us how close they were together and we found the homes were only five miles apart. However, Murray said it wasn't the only red flag and said the brutality of the murders also linked them together. "We're classifying it as an 'overkill homicide' because the manner of the death was extremely brutal in her case and Sullivan County's was the same way," said Murray.

Murray said a few things were stolen from short's home, including a toolbox containing two handguns and two knifes. He believes by locating those items, that they will be the missing puzzle pieces. "Our main focus isn't just recovering the property and who's in possession of it, but who was the original person in possession of it and the person who's committed the homicide," said Murray.

Sullivan County Detective Matt Price encourages anyone who has information to speak up. "It is scary, and we believe someone out there has some information as to exactly what happened in both of these cases," said Price.

Murray says some already have. "There's not just one person that's out there helping us, there's a whole community and there's a lot of people that have come forward," he said.

We also learned today that police are also investigating a third murder that has similar ties to see if it is connected as well.

They told us James Hutson was brutally stabbed in 1997. Hutson's murder happened within 3 miles from both Short and Jones' home.

Police said their suspect and Hutson are possible acquaintances. "The similarities are there so much. The overkill in all three cases is just what really stands out in everybody's mind, it's not a simple attack," said Hutson.

Anyone who has any information is encouraged to contact police. If you would like to leave a tip anonymously, click here.

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