Janette Roberson, her husband and their two children had moved to the small town of Reed City, Michigan about eight months before her death. She worked in the pet department in the basement of a local store called Gambles. It was in that basement where another employee found Janette’s bruised and battered body on the afternoon of January 19, 1983. Police believe she had to have been killed sometime between 1 and 4 p.m. that afternoon.
Although there had been other employees and customers walking around upstairs, no one reportedly heard anything.
Janette, severely beaten with several different blunt objects, had also been sexually assaulted. “This was a brutal -- very brutal --killing,” Janette’s sister Lana said. “I don’t know how someone can do that to another person.”
At the time, Reed City was home to offices for three law enforcement agencies: the Reed City Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department. Each department participated in the investigation, according to local newspaper reports at the time.
January 19, 2021 marked the 38th anniversary of this brutal murder.
Today, no one has been arrested. If you have any information about this cold case, please contact the Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951.
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