Annual walk raises awareness, seeks clues for 33 year-old murder mystery

REED CITY — Members of the area community united together Saturday to support one another and to seek justice for the 1983 murder of Janette Roberson.

Residents gathered at the Reed City Depot for the third annual Justice for Janette walk. Roberson was murdered in the basement pet shop of the Gamble’s store in Reed City on Jan. 19, 1983. The walk opened with a speech by Roberson’s sister, Lana Lockhart.

“It’s been 33 years since my sister was murdered and the perpetrator has not been found,” she said. “We need to bring awareness to the community that person is still out there, getting away with something.”

It’s important to raise awareness about Roberson’s murder, which took place in the middle of the day in a location that would be difficult to access without being seen, because every little piece of information counts, Lockhart said.

“If someone saw something, if they heard someone say something – If they know anything or even if they think they know anything, all they have to do is pick up the phone and call Chief Davis,” she said. “To me, if you know something and it’s true and you withhold it, you should be charged as an accessory. This is a small town and people hold secrets, even when they shouldn’t.”

This year’s event had a smaller turnout than the previous walks, according Elana Cavender, Janette’s niece, who help organized the walk.

“The first year, we were all packed in here,” she said. “Little by little, we’ve had fewer and fewer people attend. It’s heartbreaking.”

Still, the group behind the Justice for Janette walk has high hopes for solving the murder. Since the first walk, the Reed City police have received more tips than they had in the previous decades, Cavender said.

“Hopefully next year, when this is solved, this place will be packed,” she said. “We’ll have balloons and everything else celebrating that we finally caught the person responsible for this.”

Anyone who would like to share information or tips regarding Roberson’s case should call the Reed City Police Department at (231) 832- 3743 or the Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951.