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Family of slain Ohio WWII Navy vet renews reward

Jul. 19, 2014 - 04:10PM   |  
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CHILLICOTHE, OHIO — The family of a World War II veteran and great-great grandfather killed in his Ohio home nearly three years ago is renewing a $5,000 reward for information that helps solve the cold case, saying that justice is long overdue.

Harry Smith, 89, was fatally hit in the head at his home in Chillicothe in southern Ohio on Oct. 16, 2011, before his killer set the house on fire.

Family spokeswoman Andrea Smith said Saturday that the family is reviving the $5,000 reward, first offered last August for a three-month period, because investigators said it could help solve the case.

She said the patriarch's murder has devastated the family and that they'll do whatever it takes to help.

"You can't grieve somebody who has gone in such a way and justice hasn't been served, and you have to fight for justice to even exist," said Smith, 43, whose husband Gary is Harry Smith's grandson. "We're not going to give up, we're not going to lay down. We're going to fight until what's right is done."

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is working on solving the case and believes robbery was the motive in the killing because several items were removed from Harry Smith's home before the fire, including money and jewelry.

In a news release publicizing the killing last year in hopes of garnering attention, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the WWII veteran deserved respect for serving his country.

"We strongly believe that someone knows who committed this brutal crime, and it is time for that person to come forward and help give this family some peace," he said.

Smith's son, Jerry Smith, said at the time that the murder "has been really hard on the family."

"It is something that never really leaves your mind," he said. "It is with you like your breath is. It is a constant thing."

Harry Smith, a native of Chillicothe, served in the Navy during WWII and was a Walmart greeter in his later years.

He's survived by two children, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. His longtime wife, Opal, died the April before his killing.

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