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New book, 'By the Side of the Road,' gives victim of 1989 homicide a voice

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Posted at 8:52 AM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 10:56:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marla Bernard still remembers that day.

For Bernard, she still remembers that Wednesday in March 1989 when a family friend’s daughter went missing, only to be found dead the next day.

“It turned the entire community on its ear,” Bernard said.

Two men abducted Ann Harrison from her own front yard while the 15-year-old waited for the school bus. Eventually, both men associated with the murder were arrested, convicted, and executed.

“She was a sweet, sweet little girl,” Bernard said.

This year, Bernard published “By the Side of the Road,” which profiles Harrison’s case. It is Bernard’s second true crime book based on a case from Kansas City, Missouri.

Bernard said Harrison’s father suggested she write the book. Having the family’s support and trust made all the difference for Bernard.

“Almost anyone who loses a loved one, especially in a violent manner like this, they want to talk about their family member. They welcome that,” Bernard said. “If you can just take that step forward and ask them questions, they are very open and supportive in that process.”

Bernard’s goal in the book is to give a voice to Harrison. The teenager made a mark during her short life.

“She left a legacy that is still here today,” Bernard said. “I hope readers can identify with the victim and understand that good does triumph over evil; it sometimes just takes a very long time to see that happen.”

Bernard spent a lot of time researching the book, contacting detectives who investigated the case, talked to Harrison family members, and even included the entire confessions of each man convicted in the crime.

Bernard also profiles how a call to the tips hotline helped detectives solve Bernard's murder.

“If you see something, say something,” Bernard urged. “There’s no honor in holding back something that could save a family all the angst and all the suffering.”

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.