DALE COUNTY - A man facing murder charges in the 1990 death of his wife will go to trial in February.

Dale County Circuit Judge Kimberly Clark issued an order a Feb. 4 trial date for Carl Harris Jr., who was arrested in 2016 for a 26-year-old cold case murder of his former wife, Tracy Harris.

The trial was postponed in September allowing time for the state and defense to locate all witnesses, said District Attorney Kirke Adams.

In January 2016, Ozark police reopened the investigation into the 1990 death of Tracy Harris, who had initially been reported missing, said Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker.

Walker said investigators were able to locate multiple witnesses who provided information that led to developing a person of interest in the investigation.

Police arrested Carl Harris in September 2016 in South Carolina, where he had been living for the two months prior to his arrest.

Ozark Police Investigator Lt. Jimmy “J.C.” Culbreath, supervisor of the department’s cold case unit, testified during Carl Harris Jr.’s preliminary hearing that Tracy Harris went missing on Wednesday, March 7, 1990. Her body was later discovered in the Choctawhatchee River off County Road 20 on March 14, 1990. Culbreath said the victim was taken to Montgomery to the state Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy, which determined that Tracy Harris died by drowning, and that there was water and sand found in her lungs. But the autopsy noted bruising on the side of the victim’s neck consistent with strangulation.

Culbreath testified the victim and Carl Harris Jr. had divorced prior to her death, but they apparently stayed together after the divorce. He said when authorities found the victim in the river she was naked from the waist up. He said police found her clothes elsewhere.

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