Police Investigating After Registered Sex Offender Killed In Pottawatomie County

Tuesday, February 26th 2019, 10:53 pm
By: Bonnie Campo

The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal shooting near Macomb. 

A gunshot victim, 60-year-old Harry L. Venosdel Jr., was found around 5 p.m. Sunday, February 24, at his home located off White Oaks Lane. Venosdel Jr. was discovered by others who live on the same plot of land.

911 Caller: “I just got home and found him dead laying out in front of his trailer.”

911 Caller: “He's lying there, his eyes are kind of hazy, stiff, and cold...”

Before detectives arrived, it was believed that Venosdel Jr. died of natural causes. Once his heavy jacket was removed, investigators discovered he had been shot twice.

There was also a bullet hole found at a different home on the property.

Investigators also located a dead dog that had a gunshot wound.

“We had a dead dog that was shot, that was chained up. This was one of 10, or 15 dogs that was chained up. So, why do we have one dog shot and not the rest of them?” asked Undersheriff Travis Palmer.

The friends that discovered Venosdel Jr’s body own the land where the shooting happened. They reported that they were in town buying groceries and did not return home until 5 p.m. Their receipts provided a strong alibi, and deputies said they have fully cooperated in the case.

Right now, the shooter’s motive is unclear.

The undersheriff said that Venosdel Jr. was a registered sex offender. In 2007, he was convicted of lewd acts with a child. Yet at the time of the shooting, he was not breaking any laws, according to Undersheriff Palmer.

“We are not saying that is a motive. It could be, or it could not be,” he said.

Investigators said their suspect pool is small.

These back-country roads are hard to navigate, and complicated for those who don't know the area. Investigators believe the shooter had to know what they were searching for.

“Not everybody knows where it is, even know how to get to it,” said Undersheriff Palmer.

Investigators say the medical examiner reports Venosdel Jr. likely died in agony. It’s believed that he tried to get away after he was shot.

“The shots he received, he could have made it a quarter of a mile before he would have fell,” said Undersheriff Palmer. “The way he was facing, we’re thinking he was trying to get back in his trailer, to might even call 911. We are not sure.”

Investigators are looking for tips. If you have any information, please call the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office at 405-273-1727 or email hawkins@pottcoso.com