Youth pastor is found dead after helping 'stranded people'

CLEVELAND, Ga. --- A youth pastor helping at a church in Pendergrass on Sunday evening was found dead hours later after he called his family to say he was giving a ride to "some stranded people."


The body of the Rev. Edward Frank Harris Jr., 44, of Clermont, was discovered shortly before 4 a.m. Monday in a yard in Cleveland.

Cleveland police arrested a man and a woman in the killing. Police Chief John Foster identified the suspects as William Joseph Dyer, 21, and Jennifer Dawn Lineberger, 29.

Both are charged with felony murder, and Mr. Dyer also is charged with armed robbery.

The Rev. Harris' mother-in-law, Harriet Carnes, said the family was told the Rev. Harris was shot and that his car was found at a different location.

Ms. Carnes said the Rev. Harris called about 7 p.m. Sunday after leaving Pendergrass Baptist Church.

She said the Rev. Harris told her he was going to give some people a ride to Cleveland, about 30 miles north of Pendergrass and 10 from Clermont.

The Rev. Harris and his wife, Tami, have three children, ages 17, 15 and 11.

The Rev. Harris was supposed to pick up the children Sunday evening at First Baptist Church in Gainesville, where the family are members, but instead asked his wife to pick them up, said the Rev. Bill Coates Jr., the senior pastor at the Gainesville church.

"He was one of the most compassionate people," the Rev. Coates said. "One of the good and bad things about Frank is that if he saw somebody who needed help, he had to help."

The Rev. Coates said the Rev. Harris was pastor at a church in South Georgia before he moved to north Georgia four or five years ago.