After an unexpected 18 year-long sabbatical, the statue of Dr. Harry Jenkins, former president of TJC, has made its way back home.
The statue was stolen in April of 1995, with no clues as to its location. To steal a life-size bronze statue weighing approximately 300 pounds, the thieves must have wanted it pretty badly, and it was most certainly not a one-man operation.
It’s impossible to say all the places Harry’s statue must have gone, but ultimately he ended up being left in an apartment complex in Austin, Texas, where Bernardo Trevino discovered him. Astounded by his discovery, Trevino took the statue back to his own apartment where he and his roommate Matthew Remington looked after it for over 11 years.
“We named him George. Most of the time he was just the quiet guy in the corner,” Trevino said.
The statue was made in 1987 by sculptor, John Harper, and is a $32,000 piece of art.
“It was luck, pure luck that those guys kept it for so long,” Jason Waller, professor and department chair of the Criminal Justice, Paralegal and Public Administration department.
Although they did look for research and had some police in Austin assisting them in their search, the two men were unable to find Harry’s rightful owners. This past summer, however, they decided to look again. Fortunately, Tyler Junior College had launched a cold case on August 16, 2011, in an effort to recover the long lost statue, and the information on the case popped up in Trevino and Remington’s search.
After just a few phone calls, the Harry Jenkins statue was solved and plans for Harry’s return were in place and in July of 2013, he is brought home.
“We are pleased that this valuable piece of TJC history has been returned to us and will once again be on display for faculty, staff and students to enjoy,” Dr. Mike Metke, current TJC president said.
The statue of Dr. Jenkins will have a permanent home in Jenkins Hall, named in his honor, monitored by surveillance cameras.
“We are going to make sure Dr. Jenkin’s statue stays here in a secure place that appropriately honors his major role in TJC history,” Metke said. “He’s traveled enough and now that’s back home, we will make sure he travels no more.”