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home : news : north central illinois   May 3, 2016

7/10/2014 9:55:00 AM
'It eats at me:' Marking 10 years since murders


It’s been 10 years since the double-homicide that claimed the lives of James Larrison and his mother Mary Comer, and the Larrison family is still searching for answers. Larrison’s daughters (from left) Pam and Ceirra as well his wife Lee Anne (not pictured) marked the anniversary Wednesday by visiting Comer’s grave site in rural Somonauk and releasing a pair of balloons in memory of their lost family members. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
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It’s been 10 years since the double-homicide that claimed the lives of James Larrison and his mother Mary Comer, and the Larrison family is still searching for answers. Larrison’s daughters (from left) Pam and Ceirra as well his wife Lee Anne (not pictured) marked the anniversary Wednesday by visiting Comer’s grave site in rural Somonauk and releasing a pair of balloons in memory of their lost family members.

NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



SOMONAUK — Lee Anne Larrison and her daughters clutched hands Wednesday over Mary Comer’s Somonauk grave in silent prayer. When they finished, Larrison leaned over, hugged them and released two helium balloons.

It’s become a somber tradition observed whenever they’re in or around Sandwich. Even when a fun day is planned, say at the Sandwich antique fair, Larrison and her kids stop by the cemetery for prayers and a tearful hello.

“And hopefully they’re watching us have fun,” she said.

‘They’ is Comer and her son, James Larrison. Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of their murders, which were discovered when firefighters raced to Comer’s house fire in Sheridan. It wasn’t fire, however, that killed 40-year-old Larrison and his 61-year-old mother; both were shot.

The double murder remains unsolved, much to Lee Anne Larrison’s frustration.

“It’s something you have to handle on a daily basis,” she said stoically. “It eats at me. There’s been no contact (from law enforcement). I’m extremely disappointed.”

The details to emerge from the double-slaying were sketchy at best and authorities still are largely mum over a case that remains active, but also cold.

One confirmed fact is that Mary Comer was dead at the scene of her home, located at 2441 N. 42nd Road, Sheridan.

At a coroner’s inquest, authorities disclosed Comer suffered no carbon monoxide poisoning, indicating she was dead before the fire reached her body.

Firefighters rushed James Larrison to Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich, where he was pronounced dead a short time after being removed from his mother’s home.

Sheriff Tom Templeton said then there were no signs of forced entry, but also noted the house was burned so badly that it was difficult for investigators to determine whether the interior had been ransacked.

“It’s an active investigation but it is considered a cold case now,” Templeton said Wednesday. “We continue to follow leads when they come in, but they are sporadic and we haven’t had any recently.”

James Larrison was survived by his wife and four young children. Lee Anne said she holds out hope that a witness, or the perpetrator, will come forward and get the wheels of justice turning. But she’s less confident of a breakthrough.

With Lee Anne at the cemetery Wednesday were daughters Ceirra, now 19, and Pam, 16. Both said they’ve grown accustomed to the tearful visits to the resting spots (James’ ashes were scatted at a favorite wooded area) and the loss of both their father and grandmother.

“We had to grow up with it,” Ceirra said. “It’s what we know.”

Tom Collins can be reached at 223-3206 Ext. 130 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












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