More than three decades ago, the quiet community of Reed City was turned upside down after one of their own, a 27-year-old woman was brutally murdered. The case has never been solved, but this weekend family and friends are coming together for a memorial walk that they hope will bring Janette Roberson's story back to life.
'It's been 31 years and in my eyes I didn't want her to be forgotten," said Roberson's sister, Lana Lockhart. "It's still an open and active case and it needs to be solved."
On January 19th, 1983, Roberson was found dead in the basement of the Gambles store where she worked. It's known today as Reed City Hardware. Roberson worked in a pet store that was located in the basement of Gambles. Investigators say she was murdered in the middle of the day.
For the last 31 years, The Reed City Police Department has partnered with the Michigan State Police to collect countless tips and perform dozens of interviews to try and piece together what happened that day. A sketch of a possible suspect was created from the information that MSP put together in the days following Roberson's death.
"This homicide has always been somewhat active," said Reed City Police Chief, Charles Davis. "People in the area have never really...haven't let it go."
The community has organized the memorial walk to be held on Sunday, January 19th at 2 p.m.. The walk will start at the Reed City Depot, wind through the downtown streets, and right by the very store that she never left exactly 31 years ago.
"We just thought that if we got some flyers out there, and we printed it and we get a little bit more awareness, maybe there's someone out there that knows something or has heard something over the years or was on Upton Street that day between 2:00 and 4:00 and maybe saw something that they thought might be important," said one of the organizers, Jeni Decker.
Chief Davis says the chances are slim that the person could still be identified after all this time, but that he'd love to see the case close so that the family and the entire community can get some closure.
"Maybe, just the right little piece will fall into place," said Davis. "We never know. And to remember her, the family, and wanting the community to remember her, I think that's a good thing."
If you have any information about the murder of Janette Roberson or were at Gambles hardware store on January 19, 1983 and have not spoken with law enforcement, the family and investigators would like you to contact:
Reed City Police Chief Charles Davis (231) 832-3743
Mount Pleasant Post #63 (MSP) (989) 773-5951