Decades Old Murder Solved In Harris County

Detectives with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit have made an arrest for a murder that happened nearly 30 years ago. It wasn’t new technology that solved the case, just old fashioned police work.


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It was never really case of who dunn it. It was more a case of how do we prove who did it.

Manuel PenaBack in 1982 Manuel Pena, who was 34 at the time, said he found his girlfriend Sherri Strong hanging in an apparent suicide. He was a suspect at the time, but charges were never filed.

Nearly three decades later the case was reopened.

“We were able to take it a little farther than the original investigators did by dealing more indepthly with the family, friends, co workers, ex-wives of our suspect, things like that.”

Detective Eric Clegg says the 63 year old Pena has a history of violence, most of it domestic. He’s been married seven times and works as a photographer out of his home. Clegg says they don’t have a motive for the killing, but something he told investigators  in 1982 stood out.

By his own account , in ’82 he said that he learned that night that she was two months pregnant with his child. Hours later she was found dead.

So why didn’t investigators arrest Pena back then?

“They were definitely on the right path. They were trying to make this thing happen and they just came up short for whatever reason.”

Detective Clegg says  the family of Sherri Strong is happy to hear an arrest has been made nearly thirty years later.

“They’re very grateful. I spoke with both the mother, the father and her brother. They’re very grateful and for thirty years, they’ve wanted justice.”

Pena was arrested at his home Thursday and is currently in the Harris County Jail.

Sherri Strong

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