48 Hours on ID is examining the murder of Tracey Harris, who was brutally killed in Ozark, Alabama, in 1990. Tracey’s ex-husband, Carl Harris, was a suspect for nearly 30 years until evidence emerged that the true killer had been Jeffrey Beasley.
On March 7, 1990, Tracey was reported missing, and a week later, her remains were pulled out of the Choctawhatchee River. She was naked from the waist up, and her clothes were discovered at another location.
An autopsy confirmed that Tracey’s cause of death was drowning; however, she had marks on her neck that indicated that she had been strangled, causing her death to be ruled a homicide.
The cops were instantly suspicious of her former husband, Carl Harris. The pair had divorced a couple of years previously but had been back living together. However, the investigators learned that Carl had a girlfriend, and most damningly, there were accusations he had been abusive towards Tracey.
Carl would later speak about being treated as an outcast by the rest of the community, many of whom were convinced he was the killer. However, the police didn’t have enough evidence to charge Carl, and the case quickly grew cold.
The case was reignited in 2016 and led to the dramatic arrest of Carl Harris. The prosecutors relied heavily on eyewitness statements emphasizing Carl’s alleged abusive nature towards his former wife. One witness claimed to have overheard him say to Tracey, “one of these days, I’m going to kill you.”
Prosecutors shocked to learn Carl Harris was innocent in Tracey Harris murder
However, as Carl awaited his murder trial, prosecutors came across a witness, Dawn Beasley, who blew the case wide open. Dawn and her husband Jeffrey Beasley had lived with Tracey and Carl shortly before the murder. Dawn had already admitted to seeing Carl abusing Tracey, so prosecutors were shocked when she refused to testify against him.
Dawn Beasley eventually admitted to harboring a secret for 30 years. Her husband, Jeffrey, had admitted killing Tracey on the night she died. The Beasley couple had since separated.
Carl Harris was eventually released, and his former friend Jeffrey Beasley was arrested and charged with the murder. Beasley confessed to killing Tracey and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
More from 48 Hours on ID
Follow the links to read more shocking crimes investigated on 48 Hours on ID.
Danielle’ Dani’ Green shot her ex-husband, Ray Green, on the farm they shared in Dillsboro, Indiana, and stuck his remains in a toolbox. She had previously explained Ray’s disappearance by stating that he had been bitten by their pet dog.
Lana Clayton surreptitiously placed a drug used in eye drops into her husband’s coffee and water at their home in Clover, South Carolina. After three days, Steve Clayton succumbed to the poisoning and passed away.
48 Hours on ID: The 30-Year Secret: The Tracey Harris Murder airs Thursday March 24 on Investigation Discovery.