UNSOLVED: The Murder of Janette Roberson

This week marks 39 years since someone brutally murdered Janette Roberson in Reed City.

There still hasn’t been an arrest or charges in the case.

But that’s not stopping Janette’s family from fighting for a break in the case.

Janette Roberson was someone seemingly everyone loved to be around.

A beautiful young woman with a bright future ahead of her — a future that was snatched away on January 19th 1983.

Janette’s sister Lana Jarvie remembers the moment she got the news.

“I get a knock on the door. I was just getting out of the shower and knock on the door, and there’s two very, very, very young state police officers standing there, male and female.

And they said, you need to call your mother. I didn’t have the phone. So I said what happened? You need to call your mother OK. I called my mother and my brother answered the phone, and he says Jeanette’s been murdered,” recalled Lana.

The murder happened in the basement of a building in the middle of downtown Reed City.

It’s empty now, but was a pet store back in 1983.

“I didn’t believe she was dead. You know, I mean, all these scenarios in my head, well, she’s in the witness protection program or, you know, they mistook her body or something. But. I didn’t believe she was dead,” said Lana.

And 39 years later — the case remains open despite countless tips and police interviews.

“That’s why I said there’s a monster around Reed City. Someone doesn’t have no morals, somebody has no conscience. Zero, unless they’re dead,” said Lana.

After years without a break in the case — Lana, along with other members of Janette’s family started the ‘Justice for Janette walk — held every year in Reed City.

“I’m a dog person. I am very stubborn. My husband says that I’m the most stubborn person he’s ever met. And if somebody tells me I can’t do something. It’ll get done, and I might die before this is solved. Got my daughter, she might die. She’s got her kids. Jeanette had friends, they have children, they know about this. It’s not ever going to go away, and I kind of get the feeling that’s what they want. They want me to go away,” said Lana.

And so Janette’s family will gather and walk for justice again this weekend in hopes this is the year they finally answer the question: who killed Janette and why?

“Somebody step forward and say, you know what? I’ve come to the realization that I’m holding this information and it’s not doing me any good at keeping me alive. Here’s what I have. Here’s what I know,” said Lana.

If you have any information on who killed Janette Roberson — you’re asked to call Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951 or the Reed City Police Department at (231) 832-3743.

The Justice for Janette walk is this Saturday in downtown Reed City from noon to four.

You can listen to our extended interview with Lana on our Unsolved Podcast.

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